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SUCCESSORS: 1460-1580 

" Grande sobre as ondas, em lucta com os temporaes, 
6 a imagem da nagao, cuja grandeza estd na coragem e 
na teima com que soube veneer o Mar Tenebroso." 














First Published in rgio 


MY intention, in this book, has been to outHne the 
biographies of certain representative Portuguese 
of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, giving 
some account of the society in which they lived and the 
history which they made. 

The most momentous incident in that history is Vasco da 
Gama's first voyage to India in 1497- 1499 ; not only because 
it closed the main period of the Portuguese discoveries and 
ushered in a period of conquest and empire ; but also 
because it made an epoch in the history of civilization by 
establishing direct and permanent contact between Europe 
and the Far East. Vasco da Gama was the instrument 
by which Portugal rendered her chief service to humanity. 
But he was also a true type of the national character at its 
best and worst. He had what a seventeenth-century writer 
calls its " mortal staidness " — courage, loyalty, endurance ; 
he had its ignorant ferocity. His achievement and per- 
sonality single him out as the most representative Portu- 
guese of his time, and as such Camoes has made him the 
hero of The Lusiads. 

Chief among the other illustrious Portuguese whose 
portraits I have attempted to draw are Prince Henry the 
Navigator, Diogo Cao and Bartholomeu Dias, the principal 
forerunners of Vasco da Gama ; Albuquerque, a genius 
too many-sided to be dismissed in a phrase ; King Manoel, 
the cynical autocrat who played one of the greatest games 
of diplomacy ever lost ; D. Joao de Castro, the fine flower 



of Portuguese chivalry and culture ; King Sebastian, the 
last of the crusaders, gallant and futile ; Camoes, the singer 
who crowned them all with imperishable bays. To these 
must be added the names of the Humanist George Buchanan 
and of Francis Xavier, the '* Apostle of the Indies." A 
Scotsman and a Basque may seem out of place among the 
heroes of Portugal. But the records of Buchanan's uni- 
versity career and trial throw light upon the educational 
system of the country, and upon certain vital points at 
issue between its Humanists and Churchmen ; while Xavier 
fulfilled his apostolic mission under the Portuguese flag. 

The lives of all these men are but episodes in one 
great drama, of which the whole Portuguese nation is the 

In 1460 Portugal was one among several petty Iberian 
principalities : by 1521 it had become an empire of world- 
wide fame, with dominions extending eastward from Brazil 
to the Pacific. Then followed a period of decline, caused 
partly by certain defects of national character, but more by 
the pressure of inevitable misfortune, which ended in the 
loss not only of greatness but even of independence. In 
1580 Portugal entered upon what is known as the ** Spanish 
Captivity,'* and became for sixty years — in fact, though 
never in constitutional theory — a subject province of Spain. 

I have tried to keep in view the main couirse of these 
dramatic changes of fortune, from the death of Prince Henry 
in 1460 to the beginning of the " Spanish Captivity " in 
1580. But I have not been able to follow a strict chrono- 
logical sequence in narrating the lives of men some of whom 
were contemporaries. Nor have I devoted so much space 
to purely political history as to those tendencies and ideas 
which better express the character of a nation — its religion, 
its social, educational and economic ideals, its attitude 


towards alien civilizations, its art and literature. My 
excuse for venturing to touch, however unskilfully and 
superficially, upon these large subjects, is that some ac- 
quaintance with the beliefs and aspirations of sixteenth- 
century Portugal is necessary for those who would envis- 
age the characters of Gama and Albuquerque, Xavier and 
Camoes. No other background will show them in the right 
historical perspective. 

As a critical bibliography is given in Appendix A, and as, 
if every controversial point were fully annotated, the com- 
mentary would occupy more space than the text, I have 
used footnotes very sparingly, except when it seemed 
desirable to give some further bibliographical reference or 
to express my indebtedness to the work of a living or 
recent writer. I hope that I have sufficiently acknowledged 
what I owe to the researches of Dr E. G. Ravens tein, Dr 
Theophilo Braga, Senhor Luciano Cordeiro, and Mr R. S. 
Whiteway, whose work in the domain of Portuguese geo- 
graphical and literary history it were an impertinence for 
me to praise. 

Readers are asked to observe that wherever a book is mentioned 
in the text or footnotes under an abbreviated title or the name 
of its author, without further particulars, full details will be 
found in Appendix A under that title or name. 

As Portuguese is not yet the " universal language," 
and this book is not primarily intended for those who are 
already acquainted with the sources of Portuguese history, 
I have systematically referred to such translations as are 
available ; but there are no adequate English versions of 
many of the most important authorities, notably the 
chronicles of Barros, Castanheda, Correa and Couto. For 


similar reasons I have excluded from Appendix A many 
manuscripts which nobody can consult without paying a 
visit to Portugal. 

My thanks are due to those friends in Lisbon who have 
aided me with advice ; to Messrs Sampson Low & Co., 
for kindly allowing me to reproduce the portrait of Prince 
Henry the Navigator which forms the frontispiece to R. H. 
Major's classic Life ; to the Lisbon Geographical Society 
and the managers of the Casa Pia at Belem, whose courtesy 
has permitted me to reproduce various pictures, etc., in their 
collections ; and to Senhor J. M. da Silva, of 21 Rua P090 
dos Negros, Lisbon, in whose photographs of faded six- 
teenth-century manuscripts and paintings many technical 
difficulties have been skilfully surmounted. 


List of Illustrations . 
Chronological Tables. 





I. The Making of Portugal . . . . i 

II. Prince Henry the Navigator . . . 7 

III. Seamen and Slaves . . . . . 15 

IV. Cao, Dias and Columbus .... 24 

VASCO DA GAMA, 1497-1524 

V. By Sea to India : The Start 
VI. By Sea to India : Rounding the Cape 
VII. By Sea to India: Civilized Africa 
VIII. By Sea to India : Calicut . 
IX. Vasco da Gama's Second Voyage . 
X. Vasco da Gama in Retirement 


XI. D. Francisco de Almeida . . . . 

XII. Albuquerque THE Conqueror : Goa and Malacca 

XIII. Albuquerque the Conqueror : Aden and 

Ormuz .... 

XIV. Albuquerque : the Statesman 
XV. King Mangel the Fortunate: 1495-1521 

XVI. D. Vasco da Gama, Viceroy 
XVII. D. JOAO de Castro 
XVIII. A Red Sea Raid 
XIX. The Epos of Diu 
XX. The Last of the Heroes 






XXI. The Jews in Portugal . 
XXII. At the University of Paris 

XXIII. The Trial of George Buchanan 

XXIV. An Act of Faith . 
XXV. The Church in the East 

XXVI. Francis Xavier in Goa~' 
XXVII. Xavier among the Pearl-Fishers 
XXVIII. Xavier in the Malay Isles -^ . 
XXIX. A Pious Pirate 
XXX. The First Mission to Japan 
XXXI. The Portuguese in China 
XXXII. Xavier: The End . 










XXXIII. The Art and Literature of Discovery 

XXXIV. Cam5es at Coimbra 

XXXV. Camoes at Court .... 
XXXVI. CamOes in the East 
XXXVII. Cam6es: Last Years 



XXXVIII. The Last Crusade 
XXXIX. The Decadence and its Causes 

XL. The Fidalguia .... 



A. List of Authorities 

B. Coinage 



Vasco da Gama ...... Frontispiece 

From a Flemish Portrait painted during his life and preserved 
in the Museu Nacional das Bellas Artes, Lisbon. 


Prince Henry the Navigator . . . . io 

From a Fifteenth Century French Manuscript. 

Vasco da Gama ....... 34 

From a Statue in the Casa Pia, Belem. 

Document written and signed by Vasco da Gama, as 

Count of Vidigueira and Admiral of India . 70 

From the Museum of the Lisbon Geographical Society. 

Malacca, early in the Sixteenth Century . . 86 

From the " Lendas da India " of Caspar Corr6a. 

Aden in the Year 1512 . . . . . . 92 

From the " Lendas da India" of Gaspar CorrSa. 

Concluding Paragraph of Albuquerque's last Letter 

TO King Mangel ...... 97 

From the Museum of the Lisbon Geographical Society. 

Affonso de Albuquerque ..... 100 

From the Drawing by Gaspar Corrfia in the Museum of the 
Lisbon Geographical Society. 

King Mangel the Fortunate . . . .116 

From a Sixteenth Century Painting in the Casa Pia, Belem. 

The Tower of St Vincent, Belem . . . .121 

From a Photograph by J. M. da Silva. 

Receipt written and signed by Vasco da Gama . . 126 

From the Museum of the Lisbon Geographical Society. 

The Fortress of Diu in 1539 . . . . . 134 

From Dom Joao de Castro's " Roteiro de Goa h. Dio." 

Massawa in 1 541 . . . . . . , 138 

From Dom Joao de Castro's " Roteiro de viagem . . . ao Mar Roxo. 




DoM JoXo DE Castro . . . . . .150 

From Gaspar Correa's " Lendas da India." 

George Buchanan . . . . . .174 

From a Picture in the National Portrait Gallery, London, painted 
in 1581 by an unknown Artist. 


From Jan Huyghen van Linschoten's " Itinerario" (1595). 

Francis Xavier . . . . . . . 238 

From the " Vida" of Orazio Torsellino, SJ. (1596). 

Cloister of the Convento dos Jeronymos . . 244 

From a Photograph by J. M. da Silva. 

Luiz DE Camoes ....... 262 

From a Bust in the Museu Nacional das Bellas Artes, Lisbon. 

Luiz DE Camoes ....... 278 

From a Statue by Victor Bastos, in the Largo de Camoes, 

King Sebastian ....... 284 

From a Sixteenth Century Painting in the Casa Pia, Belem. 

Map showing Vasco da Gama's Voyages . . . 38 



Portuguese History 

1460. Death of Prince Henry the 

1470. Birth of the dramatist Gil 

Vicente, and of Garcia de 
Resende, poet and com- 
piler of the Cancioneiro 

1471. Portuguese ships cross the 

equator. Capture of Tan- 

148T. Death of King Affonso V. 
John II. becomes king. 

1482. Diogo Cao reaches the mouth 
of the Congo. Birth of the 
pastoral poet Bernardim 

1484. Foundation of Sao Jorge da 

Mina. John II. crushes the 
feudal nobility. 

1485. Diogo Cao reaches Cape Cross. 

Birth of the poet Francisco 
de Sa de Miranda. 

1487. Bartholomeu Dias rounds 
the Cape of Good Hope. 
Affonso de Paiva and Joao 
Pires sent overland in quest 
of Prester John. Printing- 
press established in Faro 
by Jews. 

1490. Birth of the botanist Garcia 
de Orta (?) and of the 
architect Joao de Castilho. 

General History 

1469. Marriage of Ferdinand and 

147 1. Sixtus IV. elected Pope. 

1477. Caxton's printing-press set up 

in Westminster. Birth of 

1478. Birth of Thomas More. 

1479. Union of Castile and Aragon. 

1483. Birth of Raphael, Luther and 


1484. Birth of Julius Caesar Scaliger. 

1485. Death of Richard III. of 
England and succession of 
Henry VII. 

i486. Birth of Andrea del Sarto. 

1490. Birth of Paracelsus (?). 



Portuguese History 








Bull of Demarcation issued 
by Alexander VI. 

Treaty of Tordesillas. 

Death of John II. Accession 
of Manoel. 

Forcible baptism of 20,000 
Jews. Vasco da Gama 
sails for India. Marriage 
of King Manoel to Isabella, 
daughter of the " Catholic 

Vasco da Gama reaches India, 
Isabella dies in giving 
birth to Prince Miguel, 
who is recognized as heir 
to the thrones of both 
Spain and Portugal. 

Return of Vasco da Gama. 
Foundation of the Con- 
vento dos Jeronymos. 

Pedro Alvares Cabral re- 
discovers Brazil and claims 
it for Portugal. Death 
of Prince Miguel. King 
Manoel marries his sister- 
in-law, Mary of Castile. 
Birth of the chronicler 
and Humanist Damiao de 
Goes. Birth of D. Joao 
de Castro. 

Vasco da Gama's second 
voyage to India, Birth 
of Prince John, afterwards 
King John HI. 

1504. Defence of Cochin by Duarte 


1505. D. Francisco de Almeida sails 

to India as first viceroy. 
Capture of Kilwa and 
Mombasa. Fort built at 

1506. Birth of Francis Xavier and 

Jeronymo Osorio. Mas- 
sacre of converted Jews 
in Lisbon. Occupation of 
Mozambique and destruc- 
tion of Brava. 

General History 

1492. Columbus reaches the West 
Indies. Alexander VI. 
elected Pope. The Spani- 
ards conquer Granada, the 
last Moorish state in the 

[494. Death of Politian. 

[497. John Cabot sights Cape 
Breton. Birth of Holbein 
and Melanchthon. 

1498. Columbus discovers South 
America. Death of Sa- 
vonarola. Erasmus visits 

[499. Leonardo da Vinci's " Last 
Supper " painted. Birth of 
Prince Charles, afterwards 
the Emperor Charles V. 

1502. Columbus lands for the first 

time on the mainland of 
North America. 

1503. Death of Pope Alexander VI. 

1504. Sannazaro's Arcadia pub- 

lished. Death of Isabella 
the Catholic. 

1 506. Death of Columbus. 

1508. Michael Angelo decorates the 
Sistine Chapel. 



Portuguese History 

1509. Almeida defeats the Egyptian 
fleet off Diu ; he is suc- 
ceeded in of&ce by Albu- 
querque. Birth of Fernao 
Mendes Pinto. 

15 10. Almeida killed by Hottentots. 
Albuquerque captures Goa. 

151 1. Albuquerque captures Mal- 

acca. First expedition to 
the Moluccas. Duarte Fer- 
nandes sent as ambas- 
sador to Siam. 

1 5 12. Magellan enters the service 

of Spain. Birth of Prince 
Henry, afterwards Cardinal 
and King of Portugal. 

1 5 13. Albuquerque attacks Aden. 

1514. Embassy from King Manoel 

to Leo X. 

15 1 5. Capture of Ormuz. Death 

of Albuquerque. Capture 
of Azamor in Morocco. 

1 5 16. Fernao Pires de Andrade 

visits China. Death of 
Maxy Queen of Portugal. 
Publication of the Can- 
cioneiro Geral. 

1 5 17. JoSo de Castilho appointed 

architect of the Convento 
dos Jeronjonos. Francis- 
can mission to India. 

518. King Manoel marries Eleanor, 
niece of his second wife 
and sister of Charles V. 

1520. Probable date of birth of the 

novelist and poet Jorge 
de Montemor (Monte- 
mayor) . 

1 521. Death of Manoel. Accession 

of John III. 

General History 

1509. Death of Henry VII. of 

England and succession of 
Henry VIII. Burth of 
Calvin. Erasmus' En- 
comium Moria published. 
Raphael decorates the 

1 5 10. Death of Botticelli. Titian's 

" Sacred and Profane 
Love " painted. Ariosto's 
Orlando Furioso pub- 

15 12. Death of Amerigo Vespucci. 

1 5 13. Leo X. elected Pope. Ma- 
chiavelli's Principe com- 

1 5 15. Francis I. succeeds Louis XII. 

as King of France. Ra- 
phael's Madonna di San 
Sisto painted. 

1 5 1 6. Death of Ferdinand of Aragon. 

Accession of Charles I. as 
King of Spain. More's 
Utopia published. Con- 
cordat of Bologna. 

1 5 17. Luther challenges the Pope at 

Wittenberg. Capture of 
Cairo by the Turkish 
Sultan, Selim I. Egypt, 
Syria and the Hejaz an- 
nexed to Turkey. Os- 
manli sultans become 
caliphs of Islam. 

1 5 18. Birth of Tintoretto. 

1 5 19. Death of Leonardo da Vinci. 

Charles I., King of Spain, 
elected Emperor as 
Charles V. 

1520. Death of Raphael. Magellan 

crosses the Pacific from 
east to west. 

1 521. Death of Magellan. Death 

of Leo X. Luther trans- 
lates the Scriptures into 
German. Death of Jos- 
quin des Pr^s. 


Portuguese History 

1523. The Order of Christ changed 

from a military to a mon- 
astic fraternity. 

1524. Viceroyalty and death of 

Vasco da Gama. Birth 
of Luiz de Camoes. 
Marriage of John III. to 
Catherme, sister of Charles 
V. and of his own step- 

1528. Birth of the poet and drama- 
tist Antonio Ferreira. 

15:29. Partition of the Malay Archi- 
pelago between Spain and 

1530. First Portuguese colonies 
' planted in Brazil. 

1533. Death of Duarte Pacheco. 
Birth of Jeronymo Corte- 

1535. Bahadur Shah, Sultan of 

Gujarat, grants the Portu- 
guese a site for a fortress 
at Diu. 

1536. Establishment of the Holy 

Office in Lisbon. Death 
of Garcia de Resende. 
Galvao becomes governor 
of the Moluccas. 

1538. A Turkish fleet threatens 

India. First siege of Diu. 

1539. Bishopric of Goa created. 

1540. Death of Gil Vicente. Perse- 

cution of the Hindus in Goa. 

1 541. D. Joao de Castro's Red Sea 


1542. Discovery of Japan by 

the Portuguese. Francis 
Xavier arrives in India. 
First Jesuit college founded 
at Coimbra. 

1543. Princess Mary of Portugal 

marries Philip of Spain. 

General History 

1522. Surrender of Rhodes to the 

1524. Birth of Ronsard. 

1525. Tyndale's New Testament in 

English. Death of Ismail 
Shah of Persia. 

1 526. Battle of Mohacs and conquest 

of Hungary by the Turks. 

1527. Death of Machiavelli. Birth 

of Prince Philip (afterwards 
Philip II. of Spain). 

1528. Birth of Albrecht Diirer & 

Paolo Veronese. 

1530. Copernicus completes his ac- 
count of the solar system 
in the De Revolutionihus. 

1532. II Principe and Gargantua and 

Pantagruel published. 

1533. Independence of the English 

Church established. Cap- 
ture of Tunis by Khair.ed- 
Din Barbarossa. Death 
of Ariosto. Birth of Mon- 

1535. Execution of Sir Thomas 

More. Coverdale's trans- 
lation of the Bible. 

1536. Death of Erasmus. Calvin's 

ChristiancB Religionis In- 
stitutio published. 

540. Formation of the Society of 

1542. Inquisition established in 

1543. Death of Copernicus and 



Portuguese History 

1545. D. Joao de Castro becomes 

Governor of India. 

1546. Second siege of Diu. 

1547. George Buchanan at Coimbra. 

Failure of the Portuguese 
at Aden. 

1 548. Death of D. Joao de Castro. 

1549. Francis Xavier lands in 





Grand Mastership of the 
Orders of Santiago, Aviz, 
Crato and Christ perma- 
nently vested in the Crown. 
Trial and imprisonment of 
George Buchanan by the 
Lisbon Inquisition. 

Francis Xavier' s voyage to 
China and death. Death 
of Bernardim Ribeiro. 
First volumes of Barros' 
Decades and Castanheda's 
History published. 

Camoes sails for India. 

1554. First edition of Ribeiro's 

romance Menina e Mofa. 
Death of the heir-apparent, 
Prince John. 

1555. Jesuits gain control of Portu- 

guese education. 

1557. Death of John III. Acces- 

sion of Sebastian. Death 
of the poet Christovao 

1558. Return of Fernao Mendes 

Pinto from the Far East, 
Death of Sa de Miranda. 
1560. First mission to the Bantu. 
Establishment of the In- 
quisition in Goa. 

1 561. Death of Montem6r. 
1563. Publication of Orta's 


General History 

1544. Birth of Tasso. 

1545. First session of the Council of 


1546. Death of Luther. Birth of 

Tycho Brahe. 

1547. Henry VIII. of England suc- 

ceeded by Edward VI. 
Battle of Miihlberg. 

1549. English Book of Common 

Prayer issued. 

1550. Inauguration of the PUiade. 

155 1. More's Utopia translated into 


1552. Birth of Edmund Spenser and 
Walter Raleigh. 

1553. Death of Edward VI. of 
England ; coronation and 
imprisonment of Lady Jane 
Grey ; accession of Queen 
Mary. Death of Rabelais. 

1 5 54. Execution of Lady Jane Grey. 
Marriage of Philip of Spain 
to Queen Mary. Birth of 
Philip Sidney. 

1555. Persecution of English Pro- 


1556. Execution of Cranmer. Death 

of Ignatius de Loyola. 
Abdication of Charles 
V. and succession of 
Philip II. 

1558. Death of Queen Mary and 
succession of Elizabeth. 
Death of Charles V. 

1560. Publication of the Geneva 

("Breeches") Bible. 
First edition of the col- 
lected works of Ronsard. 
Death of Du Bellay and 

1 56 1. Birth of Francis Bacon. 
1563. The Thirty-Nine Articles 

accepted as an essential 
part of English Church 


Portuguese History 

1564. Osorio created Bishop of 

1565. Overthrow of Vijayanagar at 

1568. Sebastian declared of age 

by the Cortes. 

1 569. Plagueand famine in Portugal. 

Death of Ferreira. 

1 5 70. Camoes returns to Portugal. 

1 57 1. Goes imprisoned by the In- 


1572. Publication of The Lusiads. 

1573. Death of the archaeologist 

Andre de Resende and of 

1574. Sebastian's first expedition 

to Morocco. 

1578. Destruction of the Portuguese 
army at El-Kasr el-Kebir. 

1580. Portugal united to Spain. 
Death of Camoes. Death 
of Osorio. 

General History 

1564. Birth of Shakspere, Marlowe 
and Galileo. Death of 
Michael Angelo and Calvin. 
Last session of the Council 
of Trent. 

1566. Death of Suleiman the Mag- 

1 571. Bull of Deposition issued by 

Pius V. against Queen 
Elizabeth. Destruction of 
Turkish naval supremacy 
at Lepanto. 

1572. Massacre of St Bartholomew. 

1576. Death of Titian. 

1577. Birth of Rubens. 

1 580. Circumnavigation of the world 
by Sir Francis Drake. 


John I. 
Affonso V. 
John II. 
John III. 

April 6th, 1385-1433- 

August nth, 1433-1438. 

September 9th, 1438-1481. 

August 8th, 1481-1495. 

October 25th, 1495-1521. 

December 13th, 1 521-1557. 

June ist, I557-I578. 

August 4th, 1578-January 31st, 1580. 




D. Francisco de Almeida ^ 
Affonso de Albuquerque . 
Lopo Scares de Albergaria 
DiOGO Lopes de Sequeira 


D. Vasco da Gama^ . 

D. Henrique de Menezes 

Lopo Vaz de Sampayo 

Nuno da Cunha , 

D. Garcia de Noronha* 

D. EsTEVAO DA Gam A . 

Martim Affonso de Sousa 

D. JoAo DE Castro* . 

Garcia de SA 

Jorge Cabral 

D. Affonso de Noronha * 

D. Pedro Mascarenhas * 

Francisco Barreto 

D. Constantino de Bragan^a* 

D. Francisco Coutinho* 

JoAO de Mendon^a 

D. Antao de Noronha * 

D. Luiz de Athayde* 

D. Antonio de Noronha* 

Antonio Moniz Barreto 

D. DiOGO de Menezes 

D. Luiz de Athayde * 

September 1505-1509. 
December 1509-15 15. 
December 1515-1518. 
September 15 18-1522. 
January 1 522-1 524. 
September-December 1524. 
January 1 525-1 526. 
February 15 26- 15 29. 
November 15 29- 15 38. 
September 15 38- 1540. 
April 1 540- 1 542. 
May 1 542-1 545. 
September 1 545-1 548. 
June 1548-1549. 
July 1549-1550. 
November 15 50- 15 54. 
September 1554-155 5. 
June 1555-1558. 
September 15 58-1 561. 
September 1 561-1564. 
February-September 1564. 
September 15 64- 15 68. 
September 1 568-1 571. 
September 1571-1573. 
December 1 573-1 576. 
September 15 76- 15 78. 
August 1 5 78- 1 58 1. 

* Viceroy. 

SUCCESSORS : 1460-1580 



IN the opening years of the twelfth century Portugal was 
an obscure county, tributary to the petty Iberian king- 
dom of Leon. Its territories consisted in large measure 
of barren mountains, forests, and heaths. Its ruler, Count 
Henry, was a Burgundian free-lance, who earned his title 
by the services he rendered to his feudal lord, the King of 
Leon, as warden of the GaHcian marches and husband of 
the King's illegitimate daughter, Theresa. The dominions 
of Count Henry stretched southwards from Gahcia to the 
river Mondego, beyond which the Moors were still supreme. 
His chief city was Oporto, built on the north bank of the 
Douro estuary, over against the site of Portus Cale, an 
ancient seaport which ultimately gave its name to the 
whole region known as Portucalia, or the Terra Portucalensis. 
In all the chronicles of the Middle Ages there are few 
episodes more dramatic than the change of fortune which 
transformed a half-civilized border fief of Leon into the 
foremost maritime power in Europe. Within four centuries 
the Portuguese had wrested their freedom from Moors and 
Christians alike, had founded an independent kingdom and 
extended its frontiers to their present continental Hmits. 
Other peoples had accomplished as much. But Portugal 
at the beginning of the sixteenth century had also become 
the pioneer of intercourse between Europe and the Far 


East. Her flag was supreme in half the known seas of the 
world ; every year her royal fleets brought home a vast 
treasure in gold and ivory, spices and slaves ; her chain 
of trading-posts extended from Brazil to the Malay 

To understand how so much power came to be concen- 
trated in the hands of so small a community, it is necessary 
to glance first at the situation, and afterwards at the history 
of the kingdom. As the south-westernmost of the free 
States of Europe, Portugal was a natural outpost of the 
civilization of Christendom, almost in touch with Muham- 
madan Africa. She had a coast-Hne more than three hundred 
miles long, and an abundance of deep and sheltered harbours. 
All her main rivers flowed west or south to the Atlantic, 
and the chief cities of the realm had grown up on their 
estuaries. Inland lay the rival kingdoms of Leon and 
Castile, which interposed an impassable barrier between 
Portugal and the markets of Europe beyond the Pyrenees. 
Thus the currents of Portuguese commercial and industrial 
life set strongly outwards, away from the Spanish frontier 
and towards the Atlantic littoral, where the great seaports 
were crowded with shipping, and offered a hundred chances 
of glory or gain to all who dared risk the hazard of the seas. 

The Portuguese of the later Middle Ages were not men 
to " fear their fate too much." In their character, as in 
their deeds, they were the true forerunners of the great- 
hearted West Country seamen, Drake, Hawkins and 
Raleigh. Even in the fourteenth century their caravels 
were well known on the coasts of England and Flanders, 
and in the Hanse towns. The Libelle of English Polycye 
gives a catalogue of their wares — 

" Here londe hatt oyle, wine, osey, wax and grayne 
Fygues, reysyns, honey, and cordewayne ; 
Dates and salt, hydes and such marchandy." ^ 

From an even earlier period there had been potential ex- 
plorers and conquerors among the Portuguese sea-fishermen, 

^ Printed in Wright's Political Songs, Rolls Series, vol. ii. ; written 
about 1435. 


who had learned to handle their boats with consummate 
hardihood and skill, off a shore exposed to the whole strength 
of the Atlantic. 

If the geographical and economic situation of Portugal 
encouraged the nation to seek fortune across the sea, its 
history pointed in the same direction. The blood of four 
conquering races, Romans, Suevi, Visigoths and Moors, 
ran in the veins of the Portuguese. Their independence 
had been won by the sword. It was not until the middle 
of the thirteenth century that the Algarve, the southern- 
most province of the kingdom, was finally occupied by the 
Christians, and its Moorish rulers driven eastward into 
Andalugia, or over the sea to Morocco. It was not until 
1385 that the rout of the CastiUans at Aljubarrota finally 
deUvered Portugal from the fear of Spanish supremacy. 
Meanwhile, there had been a protracted struggle — varied at 
intervals by the interference of the Papacy — between the 
Crown, the military Orders and the commercial classes on one 
side, and the feudal nobility and the clergy on the other. 
A contest very similar in its main features took place in 
Plantagenet England ; and the resemblance is heightened 
by the action of the Portuguese Parliament or Cortes. 
The representatives of the nation showed that the monarchy 
could only maintain its power as a national institution ; 
at the Cortes of Leiria in 1385 the Crown was actually 
declared to be elective, and the Grand Master of the Knights 
of Aviz was chosen as King. 

One distinctive feature of this internal struggle was the 
part played by the great miUtary orders, foreign and native. 
As early as 1147 a contingent of crusaders halted in 
Portugal on their way to the Holy Land, and joined the 
Portuguese armies encamped before Moorish Lisbon. Most 
of them were Englishmen, says Henry of Huntingdon ; but 
a Flemish annaHst claims the chief credit for his com- 
patriots, while the Portuguese historian Herculano sagely 
observes that his own nation would have received its due 
share of honour if a detailed native narrative had survived. 

Lisbon was captured, and thenceforward knights and 
pilgrims flocked to Portugal in increasing bands, eager 


to win forgiveness of their sins by striking a blow at the 
" infidel hordes of Mahound." The King of Portugal 
induced many to remain by conferring knighthood and 
citizenship upon those who would serve in his armies or 
commercial marine, and by granting to settlers a liberal 
share of the lands which had been depopulated by war, 
or never reclaimed from their indigenous tenants, the wolves 
and wild boars. The influence of these foreign knights and 
their descendants in moulding the character of the Portu- 
guese can hardly be overrated. It gave permanence to that 
union between miUtary and religious enthusiasm of which 
the Portuguese empire was the direct outcome. 

Four native Orders were also founded to carry on the 
campaign against the Moors. In spirit and organization 
they were akin to the monastic fraternities of knights from 
whom the ranks of the crusaders had been so largely re- 
cruited — to the Templars, Hospitallers, Teutonic Knights. 
The Orders of Crato, of St Benedict of Aviz, and of Santiago 
of the Sword were established in the twelfth century, the 
traditional dates of their incorporation being 1113, 1162 and 
1 170. The Portuguese branch of the Knights of Santiago 
{Sao Thiago da Espada) began its separate existence about 
1290. These three fraternities were known by the names 
of their headquarters, Crato and Aviz in Alemtejo, Santiago 
de Compostela in the Spanish province of Galicia. Each 
played a heroic part in the wars which ended in the conquest 
of the Algarve. But the fourth and last Order was the 
most celebrated of all. Its origin was due to the suppression 
of the Templars by the Papal Bull Ad Providam, which was 
issued by Clement V. on the 2nd of May 13 12. For fifty 
years at least it had been whispered that the vast and 
powerful community of the Templars was tainted with 
heresy, and that its most sacred ceremonies had been 
perverted into orgies of unspeakable vice. Philip IV. of 
France, an implacable enemy of the Templars, urged the 
Pope to destroy the Order root and branch, but in Portugal, 
where it owned large estates and wielded a corresponding 
weight of influence, the ecclesiastical commissioners of 
inquiry found in its favour ; and while the reigning King, 


Diniz the Farmer, still hesitated, the two arch-enemies of 
the Order were silenced by death. There is a legend that 
the Burgundian Grand Master of the Templars, Jacques 
de Molay, who was burned at the stake in Paris, had in his 
dying words summoned the Pope and the King of France 
to meet him within six months before the' tribunal of God. 
Their death within this period probably gave rise to the 
legend ; it also confirmed Diniz in his resolve to maintain 
the Order under a new name. x\s the " Order of Chivalry 
of Our Lord Jesus Christ " it was refounded '* for the defence 
of the faith, the discomfiture of the Moors, and the extension 
of the Portuguese monarchy," and it received the blessing 
of the Vatican in 1319. Under the Grand Mastership of 
Prince Henry the Navigator it was closely associated with 
the progress of maritime discovery, as a means of transfer- 
ring the crusade against Islam from Iberian to African soil. 
Prince Henry bestowed upon its members the tithes of St 
Michael's in the Azores, one-half of the revenues derived from 
the sugar trade of that island, the ecclesiastical dues of 
Madeira, the tithe of all Guinea merchandise, and other 
gifts. Pope Eugenius IV. granted absolution to all repentant 
Knights of Christ who might perish in the service of the 
Church. Affonso V. promised in 1454 that they should 
have spiritual jurisdiction in all lands which they might 
discover, and Pope Alexander VI. — somewhat superfluously 
— absolved them from their vows of chastity and poverty. 
For a right comprehension of the Portuguese character 
in the sixteenth century, it is necessary to appreciate the 
vitaHty of the ideal which the miUtary Orders embodied. 
This mediaeval ideal of chivalry, of a life consecrated to 
knightly and rehgious service, continued to survive when all 
the energies of the race appared to be focussed upon the 
most practical and material schemes of exploration, conquest 
and trade. In other respects the Portuguese were at least 
as progressive as the most advanced peoples of the West ; 
the art of printing, for example, was introduced into their 
country only ten years after Caxton had set up his press 
in Westminster. But all the forces of modernity — the 
Revival of Learning, the new rehgious influences Hberated 


by Erasmus and Luther and Ignatius de Loyola, the dis- 
coveries of Columbus and Vasco da Gama, the new scheme 
of the universe outlined by Copernicus — all these forces were 
powerless to dislodge the old crusading zeal which centuries 
of war against the Muslim had fixed in the nature of the 
Portuguese, and made an essential part of their patriotism. 
Portugal was to them the armed apostle of Christianity. 
This ideal supplied the spiritual motive-power for the whole 
task of discovery and conquest. It was perverted to justify 
the slave-trade and the excesses of Jew-baiters and In- 
quisitors ; sometimes it vanished altogether in the morasses 
of corruption which threatened to overwhelm the Portuguese 
dominion in Africa and India. But throughout the sixteenth^ 
century it always re-emerged — personified in Galvao and 
Xa\der, transfigured in the epic of Camoes, caricatured in 
a hundred lesser men. Its last manifestation was the crusade 
against the Moors, which ended with the defeat and death 
of King Sebastian at El-Kasr el-Kebir on the 4th of August 




APART from the feats of individual travellers such 
as William of Rubrouck and Marco Polo, the ex- 
ploration of unknown shores had for centuries past 
been achieved almost entirely by two races. First, the 
Scandinavian sea-rovers had voyaged far and wide in quest 
of plunder. Ashore they had founded the mediaeval state of 
Russia ; afloat, they had penetrated through fog and storm 
to Greenland and America — " Wineland the Good " as it 
is called in the Saga of Red Eric.^ Next the Arabs, schooled 
to travel by the Mecca pilgrimage, and free to journey from 
Cordova to Delhi without setting foot in any land save 
those which owed allegiance to the faith of Allah and 
Muhammad, had carried on the work of exploration with 
the zest of an imperial race, and in a more scientific spirit 
than their precursors. Arabian doctors had pored over 
Aristotle and Ptolemy. They had inherited an acquaint- 
ance with the immemorial eastern lore of stars and planets. 
They were skilled in mathematics and shipbuilding. Hence 
it was that geographers like Edrisi and travellers like Ibn 
Batuta did more than the hardiest viking of them all to 
enlarge the bounds of the world. And it is not irrational 
to suppose that the Portuguese had learned from the Arabs 
something of their ardour for exploration and their nautical 

However this may be, they began where the Arabs left off, 
by setting sail into the " Green Sea of Darkness," that vast 
uncharted ocean which classical and mediaeval fancy had 
filled with monsters and marvels. Greek myth, Norse, 
Arab and Celtic legend died hard among the seafaring folk 

* Details will be found in The Finding of Wineland the Good, by A. M. 
Reeves, Oxford, 1890. 



of western Europe, whose frail craft rarely ventured far 
from the friendly shore, and so rarely enabled the crews to 
test their superstitions by experience. It was well estab- 
lished that too arrogant a trust in the winds and waves 
meant the risk of an encounter with the sirens, whose beauty 
and sweet singing lured mariners to their doom. The 
dreadful Bishop of the Seas, with his phosphorescent mitre, 
had been descried in mid-Atlantic, vast and menacing. 
Those who eluded his grip might still fall victims to the sea- 
unicorn, whose horn could transfix three caravels at a blow. 
Did not the tide ebb as often as the Kraken rose Hke some 
giant cuttle-fish, to breathe and play on the surface — flow, 
when the hairy black hand thrust him down again ? Such 
phantoms haunted the seas on the way to that ideal common- 
wealth, set in an enchanted island, of which men dreamed 
in the Middle Ages, until they so far mistook the dream for 
reality that cartographers marked the island in their maps. 
Many names were used to express the idea of an earthly 
paradise hidden somewhere in the western seas. It was 
the Atlantis of which Plato had written ; Bimini, wherein 
rose the fountain of perpetual youth ; the Isle of Seven 
Cities, founded by the seven Portuguese Bishops who had 
fled thither from the fury of the Moors ; Avalon, where 
King Arthur slept ; the Fortunate Isles, the Isles of St 
Brendan, of AntiUia or of Brazil. Some of these traditions 
outhved the Middle Ages. In 1474 the ToscaneUi letters 
(if these be authentic) advised Columbus to take AntiUia 
as a landmark in measuring the distance between Lisbon 
and the undiscovered island of Cipangu (Japan or Java). 
Portuguese and Breton fishermen still hear the sirens 
singing ; and it was not until 1721 that the last expedition 
set sail from the Canaries in search of St Brendan's Isle. 
Even in 1759 the abode of the saint was sighted, but the 
crass materialism of the age explained it as an effect of 
mirage. Long before this, however, the Atlantic had been 
robbed of its most sacred mysteries ; learned triflers 
identified the Fortunate Isles with Madeira and the Canaries, 
the Isle of the Seven Cities with St Michael's in the Azores ; 
Ponce de Leon discovered Bimini and its fountain in the 


West Indies ; Avalon became the ridge that cukninates 
in Glastonbury Tor. 

To Portugal belongs the credit of having dispelled the 
fog of terror which overhung the Atlantic. No doubt a few 
daring pioneers — Italians, Catalan, English, Norman — had 
to some extent anticipated the Portuguese. Such were 
Lancelot Malocello, who reached the Canaries in 1278, 
or the Genoese adventurers who sailed as far as Cape Nun 
before 1300. A Lisbon armada visited the Canaries in 1341, 
and five years afterwards a Catalan expedition left Mallorca 
for the " River of Gold " and was heard of no more. 
Madeira, sighted before 1351 and then forgotten, was 
refound some twenty years later through a romantic accident. 
An Englishman, Robert Machin or Macham, had eloped 
with Anna d'Arfet, a Bristol heiress, and was driven to 
Madeira by stress of weather. There Anna died of terror 
and fatigue, and five days afterwards her lover was laid in 
the same grave. Their crew, seeking to return, was wrecked 
on the Barbary Coast and enslaved, but in 141 6 the pilot 
Pedro Morales of Seville and some of his shipmates were 
ransomed. On the voyage home Morales fell into the hands 
of a Portuguese captain named Joao Gon^alves Zarco, who 
learned from his prisoner how Madeira had been discovered. 

The attempted conquest of the Canaries by two gentlemen 
of Normandy, Jean de Bethencourt and Gadifer de la Salle 
was begun in 1402, but the Guanchi islanders offered so 
fierce a resistance that parts of the archipelago remained 
unsubdued when Bethencourt died in 1425. Little else 
was accomplished before the era of Prince Henry the 
Navigator ; for it is impossible to admit the claim that 
Rouen and Dieppe merchants had opened a trade in gold, 
ivory, and pepper with the Guinea Coast, and, between 
1364 and 1410, had estabhshed factories there at '* Petit 
Paris," " Petit Dieppe," and '' La Mine." 

It was no mere hermit or cloistered scholar that propelled 
the Portuguese along the road to empire. Prince Henry 
was also an alert man of affairs, whose titles, as Grand 
Master of the Order of Christ, Duke of^Vizeu, Lord of 
Covilha, and Governor of the Algarve, had been earned. 


His learning had been acquired in the intervals of war and 
administration ; from the day in 1415 when he had won 
his spurs at the siege of Ceuta, his activities had been 
manifold. Ceuta, called the African Gibraltar, had been the 
first stronghold wrested from the Moors in their own land ; 
its capture was the first dimly-realized movement towards 
the foundation of a Portuguese empire ; probably it also gave 
to the mind of Prince Henry its first definite impulse towards 
the work of his Mfe. Thenceforward he devoted himself 
to the cause of maritime exploration. From his head- 
quarters at Sagres, overlooking the " Infant's Town " which 
he had founded as a base, he financed and organized expedi- 
tion after expedition down the coast of Africa ; he planted 
colonies, established the Madeiran sugar-trade, promoted 
missions, secured the favour of Rome, and supervised every 
detail down to the designing of a caravel or the drawing 
of a map.^ 

His character is something of a paradox. At heart a 
dreamer, a scholar and a monk, he had the brain of a con- 
summate man of business, the initiative and dynamic will 
which enabled him to transmute his dreams into facts. 
One can picture him, an austere student, busied among his 
charts and nautical instruments, in that upper room where 
he could overlook the Atlantic and feel the south-west wind. 
There would be no glass to hinder its passage through the 
fantastic Moorish window-traceries, as it blew straight in 
from the far coasts whence the mariners of the Order of 
Christ would presently return with new tales of peril and 

^ Quite apart from this exploration of the African coast, it has been 
suggested that Brazil was accidentally discovered by a Portuguese ship 
during the lifetime of Prince Henry (in 1447 or 1448). This theory in- 
volves too many debateable questions to be discussed here : most of the 
evidence is reviewed in The Geographical Journal, vol. v. p. 221 seq., vol. v. 
p. 239 seq., and especially vol. ix, pp. 185-2 10, with which may be com- 
pared Azurara, vol. ii. p. ciii,, note. But the ijiost important part of the 
evidence has not yet been examined in relation to the theory ; and I hope 
to deal with it in a separate monograph. On the assumption that the 
supposed pre-Columban discovery of Brazil can be proved, there is 
reason to believe that the later " discovery " of Brazil by Pedro Alvares 
Cabral in 1500 (see chap, xi.) was not fortuitous — as most of the chroniclers 
assert — but prearranged. 


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achievement. The chamber would be furnished as barely 
as a convent cell ; the walls inlaid with painted tiles repre- 
senting, in all likelihood, scenes of Biblical Hfe, or adventures 
afloat. One can picture Prince Henry amid such surround- 
ings, wearing the odd monkish garb in which he is shown in 
a fifteenth-century medallion- -a stark ascetic figure, with 
the deep-set eyes and multitude of crowsfeet that stamp 
all those, seamen or scholars, who spend much of their lives 
in facing wind and tropical sun, or in poring over some 
crabbed archaic script. Such a man, doubtless, must 
Prince Henry have seemed as he sat Hstening to his pilot's 
discourse of strange lands, or watching while some tarry 
forefinger traced out a course over a parchment Ocean, among 
the dolphins and tritons beloved of cartographers in the 
Middle Ages. 

The headland of Sagres forms part of the group of pro- 
montories which terminate, at the south-western limit of 
Europe, in Cape St Vincent. It is a rugged ness, overgrown 
with tamarisk and other shrubs coarse enough to thrive 
in the strong salt winds. The Celtiberian priests who built 
their rude stone altars on its summit, must have regarded 
it as the end of the world, washed by the surges of an ilhmit- 
able sea. Theirs were not the only minds to which this 
remote and barren rock — the Promontorium Sacrum of the 
Romans — has seemed almost to be consecrated ground. 
To Prince Henry the Navigator, watching the horizon for the 
sails of his homeward-bound caravels, there must often have 
come such '* home-thoughts from the sea," as moved Robert 
Browning to write his lyric, five centuries later. It is 
certain that the master motive which animated the Navigator 
was neither scientific, nor commercial, nor political, although 
it involved the extension of knowledge, of trade, and of the 
Portuguese kingdom. It was essentially religious. Before 
all else, Prince Henry was a crusader ; ^the rest was a side 
issue of his crusading enterprises. In all Hkelihood the idea of 
a sea-way to India never entered his mind ; he was absorbed 
in the desire to emulate his patron St Louis by breaking the 
power of heathendom and securing the triumph of the Cross. 

The means by which he hoped to achieve his purpose 


illustrate the limitations of geographical knowledge in the 
fifteenth century. It was commonly held that there was a 
branch of the Nile which flowed westward across Africa 
and issued into the Atlantic. Somewhere at the sources 
of this great river — in Ethiopia, or it might be in India — 
lay the half fabulous realm of Prester John, whose name, 
ever since the twelfth century, had stirred Christendom 
with the hope of a champion who should stay the instant 
advance of Islam. A day would surely come when this 
mighty potentate, whose dominions extended from Babylon 
to the confines of the dawn, would hear the appeal of Europe. 
Already Constantinople was threatened, and soon the litanies 
chanted in every church of south-eastern Europe would 
contain a prayer for deliverance from the fury of the Turks. 
Little by little the shadowy outlines of Prester John and 
his empire gained substance and definition. It was rumoured 
that he had chosen the plain title of Prester, Presbyter, 
or Priest, as the Roman Pontiff had chosen that of Servus 
Servorum, not only as a token of humility, but because every 
other style, however magnificent, would appear too mean 
for the expression of his temporal and spiritual power. 
He is first mentioned in the chronicle of Otho, Bishop of 
Freisingen, who had learned of his existence in 1145 from 
the Bishop of Jibal in Syria. According to this authority 
Prester John was a descendant of the Magi, and had under- 
taken a crusade to rescue the Holy Places from the Saracens. 
After routing the Persians he had encamped for some years 
on the banks of the Tigris, awaiting a frost which might 
enable him to cross ; disappointed, he had marched back 
again. Lesser men might have built a bridge, but it was 
no common brain that conceived the vision of a frost-bound 
Mesopotamia. About 1165 a letter was widely circulated, 
which purported to come from Prester John himself, and 
was addressed to the Emperor Manuel Comnenus at Con- 
stantinople. Prester John claimed to be the greatest king 
upon earth, and the most orthodox of Christians. His 
sceptre was of solid emerald, his robe woven of the incom- 
bustible tissue which the salamanders fashioned in their 
fiery habitation. Seventy-two kings were his vassals ; 


he was waited upon by seven kings, sixty dukes, and a fresh 
count for every day in the year. The fauna of his territories 
included all the dragons and monsters of mediaeval bestiaries, 
fish which yielded purple, giant ants which excavated gold. 
In that kingdom crime and vice were unknown ; but for 
fear of accidents Prester John had set in front of his palace 
a magic mirror, in which he could scrutinize the uttermost 
comers of his realm, and detect conspiracies. 

Such was the tale to which a hundred legends and some 
half-understood truths — memories of great Oriental Kings 
and conquerors, rumours of the Nestorians in the Far East, 
and of the Abyssinians — had contributed their several 
shares until all Europe came to believe in Prester John. 
It was not until the fourteenth century that he was definitely 
located in Abyssinia, and even in the fifteenth the belief 
in his power and splendour WcLS unabated. 

With the image of Prester John to inspire invention, 
Prince Henry devised a plan for the salvation of Christendom, 
as brilliant in its audacity and, considering the state of 
geographical knowledge at the time, fully as reasonable, 
as the projects of Dias or Columbus must have appeared 
to the unlettered majority of their contemporaries. The 
Western Nile should be sought out ; the knights of Portugal 
should sail up stream to the empire of the Prester, and enrol 
him as the protagonist of Christianity. Then the allied 
hosts of Portugal and Ethiopia should outflank Islam, 
rescue the Holy Places, crush the Turks and avert the 
disaster which had already cast its shadows over the 
Byzantine Empire. 

Azurara has recorded how the supposed Western Nile 
or Nile of the Negroes came to be discovered by Lan9arote 
and his fleet of six caravels in 1445. They were coasting 
down the seaboard of Guinea, keeping close inshore, and 
watching for two tall palms which an earHer voyager, Diniz 
Dias, had noted as a landmark of much importance. 

" Some of those who were present said afterwards that it was 
clear from the smell that came off that land how good must be the 
fruits of that country, for it was so delicious that from the point 
they reached, though they were on the sea, it seemed to them that 


they stood in some gracious fruit garden ordained for the sole end 
of their delight. . . . And when the men in the caravels saw the 
first palms and lofty trees as we have related, they understood right 
well that they were close to the river of the Nile, at the point where 
it floweth into the western sea, the which river is there called the 
Senegal. . . . And so, as they were going along scanning the coast 
to see if they could discern the river, they perceived before them, as 
it might be about two leagues of land measure, a certain colour in the 
water of the sea which was different from the rest, for this was of 
the colour of mud. . . . And it happened that one of those who were 
throwing in the sounding lead, by chance and without any certain 
knowledge, put his hand to his mouth and found the water sweet. . . . 
* Of a surety,' said they, ' we are near the river of Nile, for it seemeth 
that this water belongeth to the same, and by its great might the water 
doth cut through the sea and so entereth into it.' Thereat they made 
signs to the other caravels, and all of them began to coast in and look 
for the river, and they were not very long in arriving at the estuary." ^ 

It has been shown that the Portuguese v^ere a hardy people, 
seamen by nature, conquerors by descent, and crusaders 
by tradition and creed. But without a leader they might 
have halted for another century on the brink of their destiny. 
It was the genius of Prince Henry the Navigator that brought 
into play all the latent forces tending towards expansion. 

* Azurara, vol. ii. p. 178. 



EVER since 13 17, when King Diniz had appointed a 
Genoese, Emmanuele Pezagna or Pessanha, as the 
first admiral of his newly-founded navy, some of the 
ablest foreign seamen had from time to time enhsted under 
the Portuguese flag. At the beginning of the, fifteenth 
century, although the native fishermen and traders were 
probably unsurpassed in practical skill, the science of naviga- 
tion was better understood in the seaports of Italy, while 
the Jews were supreme in their knowledge of astronomy. 
Barros relates how Prince Henry secured cartographers 
and designers of nautical instruments to teach his own 
mariners the deeper mysteries of their calling ; and on the 
register of those who actually commanded ships or served 
before the mast were many alien surnames — Vallarte the 
Dane, Balthasar the German, the Genoese Antonio Uso di 
Mare, and Luigi or Alvise da Ca' da Mosto, or Cadamosto 
as he is commonly styled. Cadamosto, the discoverer of 
the Cape Verde Islands (1456), left an account of some of 
his own voyages, which was first printed in 1507. He states 
that the Portuguese caravels, the most important of the 
four classes of ships used by the earlier navigators, were 
in their day the fastest sailing vessels afloat.^ 

These caravels were rakish, three-masted craft, very 
similar in build and rig to the Mediterranean felucca and 
the Arab dhow ; fishing-boats of kindred type may be seen 
to-day in any Portuguese harbour. They measured about 
65 to 100 feet from stem to stem, and 20 to 25 feet in beam. 
Each stumpy mast carried a huge, triangular lateen-sail, 

^ See the plans in Esmeraldo and the Revista portuguez colonial for May 
1898, pp. 32-52. For Cadamosto, see Appendix A. Special Bibliography : 
" Prince Henry the Navigator." 



slung to a pole with tapering ends, the higher of which 
stretched far above and behind the mast-head, while the 
lower hardly swung clear of the gunwale. No ordnance 
was carried by the pioneers of African exploration, though 
room may have been found for a few horses, to be employed 
in hunting down slaves. The navigating officers would 
possess charts of the nearer and more familiar waters, 
a compass and a cross-staff, or rude quadrant used in taking 
the altitude of sun and stars. They steered, as a rule, 
close inshore, noting, as they passed, every landmark, such 
as a headland, an estuary, or a grove of trees which might 
help to identify their position. At frequent intervals they 
disembarked to take observations, being unable otherwise 
to correct the errors to which their primitive instruments 
were liable, owing to the motion of the waves. They had 
no chronometer except sun and moon, and no log-line 
by which to measure the length of their daily run, or the 
speed of their ship. For this they were compelled to rely 
upon dead reckoning, an art which can be practised in 
many ways. One of the simplest, though possible only 
in a dead calm, is to spit overboard, and then to calculate the 
ship's rate of progress by the time taken in passing the more 
or less fixed point thus formed. 

In navigation, the great problem of the age was the deter- 
mination of longitude. It has been suggested that the 
usual practice was based upon the variation of the compass- 
needle, a phenomenon observed at least as long ago as the 
year 1269. Such variation is due to the difference in 
position between the magnetic and geographical poles, 
and occurs when the needle, instead of pointing due north, 
takes a slight dip or trend towards the north-east or north- 
west. The pilots of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries 
beheved in the existence of a true meridian, where the 
direction of the compass-needle always coincided exactly 
with the straight line north and south ; they held that this 
meridian passed through Hierro, or Ferro, one of the Canary 
Islands. Taking this standard for the measurement of 
longitudes, as we take Greenwich, they aimed at the discovery 
of isogonic lines, i.e., lines at every point of which the angles 


formed by the needle in its deviation from the true north 
were found to be identical. It has been supposed that they 
regarded isogonic lines and meridians as one and the same, 
and marked out their longitudes in accordance with this 
theory. Thus if the angles formed by the variation of the 
compass-needle were shown to be identical in Lisbon and 
Cape Verde, these two places would be regarded as having 
the same longitude east of Hierro, and as equidistant from 
the true meridian. Such a method of calculating distances 
east and west would naturally be fruitful in error, for while 
the meridians run straight from geographical Pole to Pole, 
the isogonic lines pursue a sinuous course, and are deflected 
from time to time by the almost imperceptible degrees of 
movement which together make up the great secular changes 
in their direction. Thus an estimate of longitude based on 
the discovery of isogonic lines could only be correct by 
accident. 1 

Of the men who turned their faulty theories and rude 
appliances to such splendid account, we know all too Httle. 
The official chroniclers wrote for the pride and pleasure of 
princes, forgetting the humbler folk who slung their ham- 
mocks in the forecastle, and did the hard work. For any 
insight into the daily lives of the crew one must look else- 
where, and especially into the codes of maritime law. 

Foremost among these is the Consolat del Mar, or '' Con- 
sulate of the Sea," a worthy monument of that genius for 
seafaring which the Catalans displayed in the later Middle 
Ages. The first extant edition bears the date 1494, and was 
published at Barcelona in the Catalan dialect of Spanish ; 
but long ere this its rulings were regarded as precedents in 
the tribunals of mxany a maritime power. No detail is too 
small for its compilers, who even enlarge upon the duty of a 
shipmaster to provide cats " where he can find them for 
sale, or as a gift, or get them on board in any manner," 

^ In view of the accurate results obtained by cartographers as well as 
navigators in the period under consideration, I am inclined to reject the 
theory just described. A good statement of it will be found in the article 
Des lignes isogoniques au seizi^me si^cle, by J, de Andrade Corvo, in the 
Jornal das Sciencias Mathematicas, Physicas e Naturaes, vol. xxxi., 
Lisbon, Academia Real, 1881. 


so as to check the ravages of rats and mice in the hold and 

The diet of the crew is carefully prescribed, meat and 
wine on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, porridge during 
the rest of the week, being the staple dishes. Every evening 
bread and more wine must be served out, with some relish 
icompanatge) , such as cheese, onions, or sardines. If ever 
wine became too dear, prunes or figs were to be substituted, 
and festivals were to be celebrated by an issue of double 
rations. No doubt the mariners of Portugal did not fare 
so well as the Consolaf requires when they were cruising 
in the tropics, but as the earlier voyagers sailed close 
along the shore, they were more readily able to obtain fruit 
and game. According to Castanheda, the daily rations of 
Vasco da Gama's crews, in the voyage of 1497-9, comprised 
I J pounds of biscuit, i pound of beef or half a pound 
of pork, 2j pints of water, ij pints of wine, and 
smaller quantities of oil and vinegar. On fast days, 
half a pound of rice, dried stockfish or cheese was 
served out instead of meat ; and the stores, which were 
calculated to last three years, also included flour, lentils, 
sardines, plums, almonds, garlic, mustard, salt, sugar and 
honey. This expedition, however, was equipped on an 
exceptionally lavish scale. 

In some respects the rules of the Consolat are as humane 
as could be desired ; sick seamen were to be landed and 
placed under the care of a nurse, while the immunity of a 
sailor from inconsiderate assault was safeguarded by some 
of the oddest provisions ever devised. The mariner was 
exhorted to bear with any abuse the master might please 
to shower upon him, but if words passed to blows, he was 
to run away into the bows and firmly take his stand beside 
the anchor-chain. Should an infuriated master, armed 
with a belaying-pin or other death-dealing weapon, chase 
him to this stronghold, the mariner was to slip discreetly 
round to the farther side of the chain. Here he was 
sacrosanct. Should he be still pursued, he was to call his 
messmates to witness that the master had broken the rules 
by circumventing the chain. Then, at last, he was to defend 


himself. So elaborate an etiquette of brawling could only 
have been devised for a people in whom the love of law and 
order had taken deep root . It was the more necessary because 
every mariner was required to equip himself with arms and 

Discipline was severe enough in these early days, though 
afterwards it relaxed, especially in the case of high-born 
officers. The ship's clerk (escriva, Portuguese escrivdo), a 
privileged person who acted as book-keeper, purser and 
cargo-master, was liable to be branded in the forehead, to 
lose his right hand, and to forfeit all his property, if he made 
a wrong entry in the ship's book, or connived at such an 
entry. Curiously enough, a seaman who fell asleep on his 
watch was only put on a diet of bread and water, unless 
the offence were committed in hostile waters. In that case 
he must also be stripped naked, flogged by his messmates, 
and ducked thrice in the sea ; if he were an officer, however, 
he would only *' lose all his food except his bread," and have 
a pail of water flung over him " from the head downwards." 
Water appears to have been unpopular, for no common sailor 
was permitted to undress himself " except he be in a port 
for the winter." 

The presence of a gang of slaves under hatches would 
hardly add to the amenities of life on shipboard, yet it was 
this cargo which reconciled the home-keeping critics of 
Prince Henry to his undertakings. At first men had scoffed 
at him as a visionary, whose enterprises resulted only in a 
vast expenditure of treasure and human lives. According 
to Azurara the critics changed their tune when Antao 
Gon^alves and Nuno Tristao brought home the first ship- 
loads of slaves. 

The Portuguese are still commonly regarded as the modem 
originators of this traffic, but slavery was no new thing 
in Europe, nor did it evoke general horror. In the Middle 
Ages, the unlettered poor might well judge the lot of a 
slave to be Uttle, if at all, worse than their own ; while the 
educated classes could quote from the Ethics of Aristotle, 
their supreme arbiter in mundane matters, the comfortable 
doctrine that nature intended some men to be slaves. 


Throughout the fourteenth century, to go back no further, 
the Italian settlements on the lower Danube and the Black 
Sea conducted a brisk trade in Slavs and Rumans, Circas- 
sians and Armenians. In 13 17 Pope John XXII. formally 
denounced the Genoese merchants who made a business of 
consigning Christian girls to the harems of Eastern princes. 
In 1386 the multitude and turbulence of the slaves in Venice 
caused a panic among the citizens. The Barbary Corsairs 
provoked reprisals in kind by selling into bondage every 
Christian who would not fetch a ransom, and Spanish and 
Portuguese law recognized a distinction between the free 
Moors, descended from the conquerors of the Peninsula, 
and their servile co-rehgionists, taken at sea or in Africa. 
In the Canaries, the Guanchi prisoners were enslaved as a 
matter of course by the Norman invaders. Even in England, 
an Act ^ passed in 1547 by the first ParHament of Edward VI. 
made it lawful for any citizen to hale a confirmed vagabond 
before two justices ; and they, on finding the prisoner guilty, 
were ordered to have him branded on the chest with a V, 
and to adjudge ** the said parsoune thus living so idelye 
to such presentour, to be his slave " for two years. Should 
he run away, he was to be branded with an S on forehead 
or cheek, and sentenced to servitude for life ; while a 
repetition of the offence was felony, punishable with death. 
Slavery was thus a recognized institution. The new 
thing which the Portuguese did was to systematize the 
importation of blacks, who were almost universally regarded 
as lower in the scale of humanity than the vilest of Europeans, 
Arabs, Berbers, or Indians. It will be remembered that even 
the saintly historian Bartolome de las Casas, Bishop of 
Chiapas in Mexico, conceded the validity of this tenet, when 
he sought to Hghten the miseries of the native Americans 
by inducing his Government to import African slaves instead. 
Las Casas Hved to repent of his error ; smaller men repeated 
it with no pangs of conscience, or stifled any remorse they 
may have felt by reminding themselves that, if the niggers 
lost their freedom, they gained Christianity. So Barros 
maintains that black men, as heathen, are outside the law 
^ I Edw. VI., chap. iii. 



of Christ, and at the disposition, so far as their bodies are 
concerned, of any Christian nation. Azurara alludes, 
more piously than accurately, to *' the curse which Noah 
laid upon Cain after the Deluge, cursing him thus, that his 
race should be subject to all the other races of men." The 
same chronicler, moved to tears by the agony of the slaves 
in Lagos market, actually prayed to be forgiven for his un- 
orthodox emotion, which missed being heresy because he 
was thinking of the captives not as heathen but as men. 
Divines and jurists shared his view. Peter Martyr advanced 
the argument a stage, when he affirmed that slavery was 
needful to restrain those whom the Church had once con- 
verted, from a relapse into their former idolatry and error. 
To describe this doctrine as sheer hypocrisy would be grossly 
to misinterpret the spirit of the age. It cannot, however, 
be maintained that the Portuguese acted up to their devout 
theories; Prince Luiz, a pattern of orthodoxy, left several 
unbaptized slaves at his death, two of whom were called 
Ali, while two others bore the still more shocking name of 

It seems probable that the first slaves brought into 
Portugal were mercifully handled, and that the worst evils of 
the trade only manifested themselves later. Azurara describes 
the fortunes of one cargo of black ivory, which was landed at 
Lagos in the Algarve, in 1441, and the picture is not wholly 
unpleasant ; although it is prudent to remember that the 
chronicler was the professional eulogist of Prince Henry. 

" Very early in the morning, by reason of the heat, the seamen 
began to make ready their boats, and to take out those captives, and 
carry them on shore, as they were commanded. And these, placed 
all together in that field, were a marvellous sight ; for amongst them 
were some white enough, fair to look upon, and well proportioned ; 
others again were as black as Ethiops, and so ugly, both in features 
and in body, as almost to appear (to those who saw them) the images 
of a lower hemisphere. But what heart could be so hard as not to be 
pierced with piteous feeling to see that company ? . . . And though 
we could not understand the words of their language, the sound of it 
right well accorded with the measure of their sadness. But to increase 
their sufferings still more, there now arrived those who had charge 
of the division of the captives, and who began to separate one from 


another, in order to make an equal partition of the fifths ; and then 
was it needful to part fathers from sons, husbands from wives, brothers 
from brothers. . . . 

" As our people did not find them hardened in the belief of the other 
Moors, and saw how they came in unto the law of Christ with a 
good will, they made no difference between them and their free 
servants, born in our own country ; but those whom they took while 
still young, they caused to be instructed in mechanical arts, and those 
whom they saw fitted for managing property they set free and married 
to women who were natives of the land. . . . Yea, and some widows 
of good family who bought some of these female slaves, either adopted 
them or left them a portion of their estate by will ; so that in future 
they married right well ; treating them as entirely free. Suffice it 
that I never saw one of these slaves put in irons like other captives, 
and scarcely any one who did not turn Christian and was not very 
gently treated." ^ 

The Portuguese, judged by the standards of their own 
time, have ever been a kindly race ; cruelty to helpless 
things, to children and animals, is rarer with them than 
with us ; even in their bullfights all the brutalities of the 
Spanish arena have been refined away, and there is no kill- 
ing, except of too venturesome sportsmen. From a phrase 
used by Azurara it may be inferred that the scene at Lagos 
provoked something hke a riot among the countrymen 
who had flocked to town at the tidings of so novel a spectacle. 
So, too, in later days, there were many who braved the 
wrath of King and Church by sheltering persecuted Jews. 

But the sons and grandsons of Azurara's contemporaries 
became hardened by the sight of heretics burned at the 
stake, by their own power to do as they pleased with their 
human cattle. Things were worst in India, where men 
shook off even the restraints which bound them at home ; 
and to understand what slavery meant under Portuguese 
rule it is necessary to turn from the picture drawn by 
Azurara to another, sketched more than a century and a 
half later by Jean Mocquet.^ 

" As for the slaves, it is pitiful what cruel chastisements they give 
them, making them suffer a thousand kinds of torment. For they 

1 Azurara, vol. i. pp. 81-5. 

* See Appendix A : General Bibliography, s.v. Mocquet. 


put them in double sets of irons^ and then beat them, not with twenty 
or thirty blows of a staff, but with as many as five hundred. . . . 
The master, a Portuguese or half-caste, standing by, and counting 
the strokes on his rosary. 

" While I was lodging at Goa, I heard nothing but blows all night 
long, and some weak voice which could hardly sigh ; for they stuff 
their mouths with a linen cloth, to keep them from crying aloud, 
and scarce allow them to breathe. After they have well beaten them 
in this sort, they slash their bodies with a razor, then rub them with 
salt and vinegar, lest they should mortify. 

" One woman had a slave who was not alert enough, nor prompt 
to rise when summoned ; her half-caste mistress caused a horse-shoe 
to be nailed to her back, so that the poor creature died some time 
after. . . . Another, for not being wide enough awake, had her 
eyelids sewn to her brows. . . . Another there was, who was hanged 
up in a room by the hands, for two or three days together, and that 
for a very small matter, to wit for having let spill about a pint (quelque 
chopine) of milk. . . . The master of the lodging, having one day 
bought a Japanese slave girl, chanced, while conversing with his 
wife, to remark that the girl had very white teeth. The woman 
said nothing then, but biding her time until her husband was out 
of doors, she caused this poor slave to be seized and bound, and all 
her teeth to be torn out, without compassion. . . ." ^ 

There is no need to continue the shameful catalogue. 
The worst charges brought by Mocquet are too vile for 
print, but they are authenticated by the testimony of other 

* Mcxquet, pp. 213 seq. 



PRINCE HENRY the Navigator died in 1460 and his 
mantle fell upon King Affonso V., who was sumamed 
the " African " because — in the picturesque words 
of Barros — he " raged round Africa as a hungry Hon roars 
around some guarded fold." Affonso leased the Guinea 
trade for five years to one Femao Gomes, exacting an annual 
rent of 500 cruzados {■£22^),'^ and requiring that 100 leagues 
of coast should be explored in each year, or 500 in the whole 
term, which expired in 1475. The caravels chartered by 
Gomes were the first to round Cape Palmas, whence they 
pressed on eastward to the Ivory Coast and the Gold Coast ; 
and before the King's death in 1481, his subjects had passed 
the delta of the Niger, and reached Cape Catherine, 2° S. 
of the equator, thus traversing the entire Gulf of Guinea. 

The accession of King John II. wrought a change in 
Portuguese policy. Not content with the revenues he had 
already — even as Crown Prince — derived from annual 
trading voyages, the King determined to establish a Christian 
empire on the mainland of West Africa ; and in 1481 he 
imposed upon Diogo d' Azambuja,^ one of his most trusted 
navigators, the duty of forming the first permanent settle- 
ment. Azambuja was accompanied by two young ofiicers 
who were in time to win fame far surpassing his own — 
Bartholomeu Dias and Christopher Columbus. He founded 
the fortress of Sao Jorge da Mina, " St George of the Mine," 
so called because it was the central mart for the precious 
ores of the Gold Coast. The fortress soon received the title 
and privileges of a city ; it had a church in which masses 
were sung daily for the soul of Prince Henry the Navigator ; 

^ See Appendix B : Coinage. 

* See Luciano Cordeiro, Diogo d' Azambuja, in the Boletim for 1892. 


and its harbour enabled those explorers who were gradually 
opening up the African coast to refit and revictual their fleets 
before proceeding south into unknown latitudes. An esquire 
of the King's household, Diogo Cao by name, was in the 
same year commissioned to undertake a voyage of discovery 
beyond Cape Catherine, the most southerly point yet reached, 
and about the midsummer of 1482 he set sail from Lisbon.^ 
Aboard his ships were certain granite pillars (padroes), each 
surmounted by a cross, which were to be set up in sign that 
the newly discovered territories belonged to Christendom and 
to Portugal. 2 On every pillar the royal arms were sculp- 
tured, and Cao was ordered to add duplicate inscriptions 
in Latin and Portuguese, stating by whom the expedition 
was sent forth, with the captain's name and the date. 

It was probably in April 1482 that Diogo Cao rounded 
the headland now known as Shark Point and there set up 
the first of his pillars beside the estuary of a mighty river, 
which rolled down to the Atlantic in such tremendous 
volume that, according to Barros, the water ran sweet 
for twenty leagues off shore. Cao, who named his new 
discovery the " Sao Jorge," steered up stream through the 
archipelago of low alluvial islands which rise from its bed, 
and turning aside into the mouth of a tributary ^ which 
enters the main river from the south, anchored in a quiet 
backwater overshadowed by a wall of sheer cliff. There, 
on the smooth face of the cliff, his men carved a cross, the 
shield of Aviz, and the still legible inscription — " Hither 
came the ships of the illustrious King Dom John IL of 
Portugal : Diogo Cao, Pedro Anes, Pedro da Costa." * 

* Barros, Dec. I. Bk. III. chap. iii. p. 171 incorrectly gives the date as 1484. 
' Similar padroes were afterwards used by Dias and Gama, and much 

importance was attached to them, as symbols of Portuguese sovereignty. 
The four erected by Cao (1482-6) have been recovered, though more or less 
damaged. One, from Cape Cross, is in Kiel museum, the others in the 
collection of the Royal Geographical Society of Lisbon. 
' The Mpozo. 

* Reading A^y chegaram os navios do esclaricydo Rei Dom J cam ho sego 
de Portugall : Do Cddo Po Anes Po da Costa. See the photograph in The 
Old Kingdom of Kongo, by the Rev. Thomas Lewis, in The Geographical 
Journal, vol. xxxi. p. 590, and compare Id. vol. xxxii. p. 185 for the later 
names and the reading esclaricydo. 



Other names and emblems have been added, probably by a 
later hand. 

From the " black men with frizzled hair " who came aboard 
to barter ivory for cloth, Diogo Cao learned that the river was 
called the Zaire, and that it watered the rich and populous 
kingdom of Kongo.^ He sent some Christian negroes inland 
to visit the Lord of Kongo, taking hostages for their safety, 
and continued his voyage as far as Cape St Mary — his 
Monte Negro or Cabo do Lobo — in 13° 28' S. There he 
erected another padrdo, returning to Lisbon in April 1484. 

He was rewarded with promotion to the rank of a cavalier 
in the royal household, with an annuity of 18 milreis 
(£20, 2s.), a patent of nobility, and a coat-of-arms charged 
with two padroes. In the following summer he revisited 
the Congo and sent rich presents to the King, exhorting 
him to abjure idolatry and embrace the true religion, while 
the hostages were also permitted to return home and spread 
among their friends the fame of Portuguese hospitality and 
power. The subsequent history of the kingdom of Kongo 
is a fascinating study. Missionaries, lawyers and the slave- 
trade were rapidly introduced, churches were built, and 
dusky potentates hurried to invest themselves with the more 
showy trappings of civilization, styling themselves Dom 
Affonso or Dom Alvaro, decorating their kraals with heraldic 
devices, and conferring dukedoms and knighthoods broad- 
cast upon a host of more or less naked aristocrats. ^ 

Cao coasted southward from the Congo estuary until he 
reached Cape Cross, where in 21° 50' S. he erected the last 
of his pillars. He had followed the African seaboard for 
almost the entire distance between the equator and Walvisch 
Bay, an achievement which, even apart from his discovery 
of the Congo, would entitle him to a sure place in the annals 
of exploration. His ships returned home before August 
1487 ; for some of the negroes he had kidnapped were taken 
as interpreters by Bartholomeu Dias, who sailed from Lisbon 

1 It is usual to write Kongo for the ancient kingdom, and Congo for the 
river and later political divisions. 

* For a full account of Kongo see Andrew Battell in Guinea, edited for 
the Hakluyt Society by E. G. Ravenstein, London, 1901. 


in that month. According to a legend on the map of 
Henricus Martellus Germanus (1489), Cao died at sea off 
Cape Cross, in i486 ; but both Barros and Ruy de Pina 
give an elaborate account of his return to the Congo and 
to Lisbon.^ 

Bartholomeu Dias de Novaes came last in the succession 
of great Portuguese seamen who opened the way for Vasco 
da Gama. Little is known for certain of his early life, but 
probably he was kinsman to Diniz Dias, the discoverer of 
Cape Verde. He had commanded a caravel in the royal 
fleet of which Diogo d' Azambuja was admiral, and King 
John 11. had granted him an annuity of six milreis (£6, 14s.), 
for services to come. In August 1487 — a year later than the 
traditional date — he set sail from the Tagus to resume the 
work left unfinished by Cao. 

His three ships arrived at Cape Cross without misadven- 
ture, and then coasted south to the headland now called 
Dias Point. Here the captain set up a stone pillar, of which 
certain weather-beaten fragments have been recovered ; 
these are preserved partly in the collection of the Royal 
Geographical Society of Lisbon, partly in the Cape Town 
museum. From Dias Point the explorers drove southwards 
before a favouring wind which soon freshened to a gale. 
For thirteen days it blew hard from the north, carrying 
the ships far beyond the Cape and into the high latitudes 
of the South Atlantic, whither no European had ever before 
penetrated. At last the wind sank, and Dias steered east 
and north until he found land again at Mossel Bay. He 
named this inlet Bahia dos Vaqueiros or Bay of the Herds- 
men, from the Hottentot drovers who were descried 
pasturing their cattle on shore. In the storm his ships 
had rounded the Cape ; but unaware of this triumph^ 
Dias continued his voyage past Algoa Bay, which he named 
the Bahia da Roca, and made the Great Fish River, which 
he caUed the Rio de Infante, after Joao Ipfante who 

* On Cao and Dias generally, see The Voyages of Diogo Cao and Bartholo- 
meu Dias, 1482-8, by E. G. Ravenstein, in The Geographical Journal, 
vol. xvi. pp. 625-55 (1900), eind Luciano Cordeiro's Diogo Cao in the 
Boletim for 1892. 


commanded one of his three ships. ^ Here the trend of the 
coast-line changes from east to north-east, and it became 
clear that the southernmost point of the continent had 
been passed. 

Dias therefore yielded to the earnest demand of his crew, 
and put about for home. To Table Mountain and the 
highlands and promontories by which it is buttressed he 
gave the name of Cabo Tormentoso, Cape Tempestuous ; 
but this was soon changed, either by Dias himself or by his 
royal master, into Cabo da Boa Esperanga, Cape of the 
Good Hope. In December 1488, Dias once more dropped 
anchor in the Tagus, after exploring more than 1250 miles 
of a seaboard previously unknown. The annals of his 
voyage are meagre and arid, a bare record of facts and 
dates, but in modem times that voyage has been recognized 
as one of the main landmarks in geographical history, for 
it ended all doubt as to the possibility of reaching India 
by sea. 

As the fame of the Portuguese discoveries spread abroad, 
Lisbon became the resort of adventurers from all parts 
of Europe, and especially from Italy, Flanders and England. 
A motley crowd of shipwrights and slave-dealers, gold- 
smiths and spice-merchants, tanned and tarry sailors and 
wide-eyed yokels, would crowd down to the waterside 
whenever the royal fleets, with the great red cross of the 
Order of Christ emblazoned on their main-sails, hove in 
sight outside the bar of the Tagus. To all daring spirits 
who might feel, Hke John Cabot, " a great flame of desire 
to attempt some notable thing," Lisbon afforded the chance 
of sudden fortune and fame ; in Lisbon the inventor of a 
new astrolabe, the designer of an improved anchor, the 
draughtsman who could accurately transcribe a map or 
chart, was sure of a market for his knowledge. 
•^'Among such men there was one, the son of a poor Genoese 
wool-comber, who was destined for immortality. He was 
tall, with large powerful hmbs, and eyes of the Hght blue 
or grey common in North Italy. His forehead was lofty 

* Or, if the name should be read Rio do Infante, after the Infante, or 
Prince, i.e. Henry the Navigator. 


and furrowed with the long brooding over one master-idea 
which had turned his hair and beard white, though as yet 
he was not middle-aged. He was something of a mystic, 
for he trusted in dreams and omens, and heard the voice 
of Isaiah in a vision ; something of an ascetic, for he 
restricted himself as far as possible to a vegetarian diet, 
preferred water to wine and often wore the habit of an 
associate of the Franciscan Order. Passers-by, casually 
noting his gown and his preoccupied air, might have mis- 
taken him for some foreign monk or student, out of place 
amid the bustle and activity of the quays. >- In truth he was 
both scholar and seer ; but he was also a man of action, 
gifted with an iron perseverance and a capacity for leader- 
ship and seamanship which in no way feU short of genius. 

Still dreaming of a western sea-way from Europe to 
Gpangu and India, Christopher Columbus had joined his 
brother Bartholomeu, a clever pilot and cartographer who 
resided in Lisbon. Christopher also worked at map-making 
and the illumination of manuscripts, but in his leisure hours 
he pored over the two volumes which had fired his ardour 
for discovery, the Book of Messer Marco Polo and the Imago 
Mundi of Pierre d'Ailly. Some of his time was also spent 
at sea, for it was in 1477, the year after he had made Lisbon 
his headquarters, that he visited Great Britain and perhaps 
extended his itinerary to " Ultima Thule " or Iceland. 

His marriage in no way mended his fortunes. The bride 
was Felippa Moniz, daughter of Bartolommeo Perestrello, 
who had served under Prince Henry the Navigator. His 
services had been rewarded by the grant of Porto Santo, 
an island in the Madeira group, which he was empowered to 
govern and colonize. There is an old story of an accident 
which brought about his ruin. Some rabbits imported by 
the first settlers are said to have multipHed until they over- 
ran the island and destroyed every hope of harvest. It was 
thus a fitting union. The bride's dowry was a reversion 
to a desert island ; the bridegroom's chief asset was the 
vision of an undiscovered continent. 

Felippa was fatherless, and for a time the newly-wedded 
pair made their home in the Madeiras with the widowed 


Isabella Moniz Perestrello. Though few authentic details 
of their life have been preserved, it is certain that Columbus 
resided in Porto Santo during part of the year 1479, and 
probable that his plans for a western passage to Asia came 
to maturity at this period. There is a well-founded tradi- 
tion that Isabella placed in his hands a mass of charts, 
logs and other documents bequeathed by her husband. 
These records of many voyages in the remote Atlantic 
would no doubt be eagerly studied by Columbus, who can 
hardly have failed to profit by the teaching of so experienced 
a pilot. In Madeira he received definite information which 
tended to confirm the vague rumours current concerning 
land in the Far West. Pedro Correa, a Portuguese pilot 
who had married an elder daughter of PerestreUo by his 
first wife, had found on the beaches of Madeira huge hollow 
canes, capable of holding four quarts of Uquid between one 
joint and another. He had heard of certain men washed 
ashore at Flores in the Azores " very broad of face, and un- 
like Christians in aspect." Another Portuguese mariner, 
Martim Vicente by name, had picked up a piece of driftwood, 
carved by some instrument not of iron and borne eastward 
by wind and waves. At the time he was saiHng more than 
four hundred leagues west of Cape St Vincent. 

In 1484, soon after his return from Sao Jorge da Mina, 
Columbus went boldly to the King of Portugal and pro- 
pounded his scheme for the western voyage. John referred 
it to the Bishop of Cent a, a Jewish mathematician named 
Moses, and the Rabbi Joseph Vecinho. Martin Behaim, 
the famous cosmographer, and Rodrigo, the Court physician, 
may also have been consulted. It was to " the Jew Joseph '* 
that Columbus primarily attributed his failure. Vecinho 
had studied mathematics under the great astronomer 
Abraham Zacuto ben Samuel, and had been sent by the King 
to Guinea, to take the altitude of the sun. His arguments 
formed the basis of an address made by D. Pedro de Menezes 
to the Council of State, which resulted in the final rejection 
of Columbus' project. Meanwhile a caravel was secretly 
despatched to test the value of Columbus' theory, but its 
crew lost courage and returned with nothing to report. 


Finding his ideas discredited or pirated, Columbus turned 
his back on Portugal. Felippa his wife was dead, his pros- 
pects of advancement were slender and he was probably 
in danger of arrest for debt ; so, taking his only son Diego, 
he set forth in search of another patron. In 1488 he re- 
turned to Lisbon at the request of the King, who had per- 
haps reconsidered his verdict and had certainly guaranteed 
him against any annoyance from his numerous creditors. 
There Columbus witnessed the triumphant home-coming 
of Dias, and learned that the sea-way to Asia had already 
been opened, though some part of the distance still remained 
to be traversed.^ Now all the resources of Portugal were 
to be concentrated for the completion of this mighty adven- 
ture. There was nothing to be gained in Lisbon, and once 
more Columbus departed, resolute as ever in the face of 
disappointment, to lay his case before the Kings of England, 
France and Castile. 

Thus ended his association with Portugal. It would \^ 
be irrelevant to trace any further the events which culmin- 
ated on the 12th of October 1492 in the discovery of a 
New World, or to follow the after career of Columbus to 
its lamentable close. It is worth while, however, to em- 
phasize the fact that Columbus' voyage to America was an 
integral part of the process of Atlantic exploration initiated 
by Prince Henry the Navigator. Columbus' knowledge of 
Atlantic winds and tides had been mostly acquired on 
Portuguese ships ; his inference that a westerly course 
would bring him to Cipangu was to a great extent founded 
on data furnished by Portuguese pilots. To recognize that 
he, like Dias and Gama, had built upon the foundations laid 
by Prince Henry is in no way to belittle the splendour of 
his achievement. 

One result of the discovery of America was the famous * 
partition of the unexplored world between Spain and 
Portugal. Two Bulls were promulgated by Pope Alexander 
VI. on the 4th of May 1493, the first of which granted to 

* From a manuscript note by Columbus in his own copy of the Imago 
Mundi (now in the Columbine Library, Seville) it Is clear that he was 
present when Dias described his adventures to John II. 


Castile all regions discovered, or to be discovered, in the west 
of the Atlantic Ocean ; while the second gave instructions 
for the tracing of a straight boundary-line from the Arctic 
pole to the Antarctic, so as to divide the Spanish and Portu- 
guese hemispheres. *' This Une," said the Bull, "is to be 
distant from any one of the islands commonly called de los 
Azores and Cabo Verde, by one hundred leagues towards the 
west and south." ^ His Holiness did not condescend to ex- 
plain how a line drawn straight from Pole to Pole could run 
" to the west and south " of either archipelago ; and the Bull 
was otherwise so cryptic that Spanish and Portuguese 
plenipotentiaries were appointed to reconsider the whole 
matter. On the 7th of June 1494, they signed the treaty 
of Tordesillas, which was confirmed by Pope Julius II. in 
a Bull dated the 24th of January 1506. According to this 
covenant the boundary-Une was to be drawn due north and 
south of a point 370 leagues west of Cape Verde — doubtless 
an excellent solution if it could have been carried into effect. 
But as there was no known method of determining longi- 
tude with precision, the line of demarcation could not be 
dehmited, nor could the 370 leagues be measured ; and it 
was a matter of opinion where the Portuguese hemisphere 
ended and the Spanish began. The treaty was invoked by 
King Manoel to justify the Portuguese annexation of Brazil, 
and by the Emperor Charles V. when he claimed the Malay 
Archipelago ; but in general it remained a pious aspiration, 
which both parties ignored or respected to suit their own 

* Quae linea distet a qualibet insularum, quae vulganter nuncupanfur de 
los Azores et Cabo Verde, centum leucis versus occidentem et Meridiem. 

VASGO DA GAMA, 1497-1524 



BARTHOLOMEU DIAS had found the sea-gates of the 
Orient ; it remained for some mariner of equal 
daring to force them open. Wars with Castile and 
the death of King John II. had delayed this venture for 
a decade, but Manoel, who succeeded to the throne in 1495, 
did not long hesitate to resume the historic mission be- 
queathed to his country by Prince Henry the Navigator. 
This had now come to mean the search for a sea-route to 

The twofold purpose of the quest was explained with 
admirable brevity by the first Portuguese sailor who dis- 
embarked on Indian soil. "Christians and spices/' he 
rephed, when asked what had brought him and his comrades 
so far. 

All those who still cherished the crusading ideals of a 
bygone age dreamed of an alliance with Prester John's 
empire and with the other Catholic powers which were 
believed to exist on the other side of the world. This 
accompUshed, the chivalry of Portugal would lead the 
united hosts of European and Asiatic Christendom in a 
campaign for the destruction of Muhammadanism. Others 
hoped to divert for their own profit the trade in Indian 
wares, and especially in spices, which had hitherto filled 
the treasuries of Genoa, Venice and Ragusa. 

Shortly after his accession King Manoel summoned to his 
court at Estremoz the son of a certain Estevao da Gama, 
who had been chosen to lead the way to India but had died 
while the preparations for the voyage were still incomplete. 
His third son Vasco was appointed in his stead to the office 
^ 33 


of Captain-Major {Capitdo-Mor) or Commander-in-chief. 
Castanheda states that the honour was first offered to 
Vasco's eldest brother, Paulo da Gama, who declined it on 
the ground of ill-health. 

Vasco da Gama was bom about 1460 in the town of 
Sines, of which his father was Alcaide-Mor or Civil Governor. 
Sines, one of the few seaports on the Alemtejo coast, con- 
sisted of little more than a cluster of whitewashed, red-tiled 
cottages, tenanted chiefly by fisherfolk. Its inhabitants 
could hardly fail to be men of the sea, for a waste of barren 
sand, inhospitable as the unreclaimed Landes of Southern 
France, stretched for leagues behind the town and made all 
agriculture unprofitable. But westward lay the endless 
Atlantic, where the men of Sines could reap a surer harvest 
than any they could wring from the dunes, and on the north 
a little haven sheltered by granite cliffs gave a secure berth 
to their fishing-fleet. Born and bred in such an environ- 
ment, Vasco da Gama was also fated to follow the sea. 
When he was chosen for the Indian voyage, he was already 
an expert navigator, about thirty-six years of age and 
unmarried. Courage, ambition, pride and unwavering 
steadfastness of purpose were the bedrock of his character. 
Although on occasion he might unbend so far as to join his 
sailors in a hornpipe, he allowed no relaxation of dis- 
cipline ; and although he made promotion depend exclusively 
on merit, never on the fortune of birth — "preferring," as 
Correa puts it, "a low man who had won honour with his 
right arm to a gentleman Jew "■ — he was at heart an 

Early in the summer of 1497 he was granted an audience 
of King Manoel at Montemor-o-Novo, near Evora, where 
he took the oath of fealty, and was presented with a silken 
banner emblazoned with the Cross of the Order of Christ. 
He then journeyed to Lisbon to assume command of four 
ships which already lay moored in the Tagus estuary. 

Two sister ships of about 100 or 120 tons,i the Sao Raphael 

^ The Portuguese ton was of greater capacity than the English ; on this 
subject, and all matters connected with the preparations for the voyage, 
see Dr Ravenstein's Roteiro, Appendices C, D and E. 


»)?*'* , ■» s» 




and Sao Gabriel, had been built expressly for this voyage. 
Their architect was Bartholomeu Dias, who had set himself 
to design a vessel better adapted than the caravel type for 
a long cruise in stormy latitudes. He was compelled to 
sacrifice some good quaHties of the older vessel — its speed, 
its handiness in working to windward, its finer Hues. But 
the new ships were strong and seaworthy enough to hold 
their own among the greybeards of the South Atlantic, 
and roomy enough to accommodate men and officers without 
overmuch discomfort. Low amidships, with high castles 
towering fore and aft, they rode the water like ducks — 
square-sterned, bluff-bowed, their length about thrice their 
beam. Each had three masts, the fore and main carrying 
two square sails apiece, while the mizzen bore a single lateen 
sail. The bowsprit was tilted upwards at so high an 
angle that it resembled a fourth mast, fitted with one 

Vasco da Gama had chosen the Sao Gabriel as his flagship, 
while Paulo da Gama commanded the Sao Raphael. The 
flotilla was completed by the Berrio, a caravel of 50 tons, 
commanded by Nicolau Coelho ; and a storeship of 200 
tons, under a retainer of Vasco da Gama named Gongalo 
Nunes. Castanheda gives the total number of men aboard 
the fleet as 148, Barros as 170, including a few convicts who 
were to be employed in dangerous tasks on land. Diogo 
Dias, a brother of Bartholomeu, served as clerk on the 
Sao Gabriel ; the chief pilot was Pedro de Alemquer, who 
had already steered Bartholomeu's flagship round " Cape 

Gama, Dias and their advisers 'had done their utmost 
to organize success by giving a technical training to the 
crews, providing stores for three years, ^ and securing the best 
scientific outfit available. According to Correa, 

" Vasco da Gama spoke to the sailors who were told off for the 
voyage, and strongly recommended them, until the time of their 
departure, to endeavour to learn to be carpenters, rope-makers, 
caulkers, blacksmiths, and plank-makers ; and for this purpose 
he gave them an increase of two cruzados (19s. 3id.) a month beyond 

1 See above, p. i8. 


the sailors' pay which they had, which was of five cruzados (48s. 2f d.) 
a month ; so that all rejoiced at learning, so as to draw more pay. And 
Vasco da Gama bought for them all the tools which befitted their 
crafts." 1 

Tables showing the declination of the sun were provided 
by the astronomer-royal, Abraham Zacuto ben Samuel. 
These, which enabled navigators to determine their latitude 
by calculating the altitude of the sun when the pole-star 
was invisible, had been translated from Hebrew into Latin 
in the previous year, and printed at Leiria under the title 
of Almanack perpetuum Celestium motuum cujus radix est 
1473. Other books, maps, and charts were supplied by 
D. Diogo Ortiz de Vilhegas, titular Bishop o| Tangier and 
(as Bishop of Ceuta) ^ one of the three royal commissioners 
who had discredited Columbus' plans for a voyage to 
Cipangu under the Portuguese flag. Among these docu- 
ments were, almost certainly, the Geography of Ptolemy, 
the Book of Marco Polo, and copies of the reports sent home 
by the Jew Pedro de Covilha and other Portuguese explorers 
who had been sent overland to Asia, besides a transcript 
of the information furnished by Lucas Marcos, an Abyssinian 
priest who visited Lisbon in 1490. .The log and charts 
of Dias were of course available^ol»favablv also. the map 
of Henricus Martellus GermanusTj^^BHK' / 

Gama's instruments included4l|^^^^:|jood^n astrolabe, 
smaller astrolabes of brass and ^J^ip^nted by Zacuto, 
" Genoese needles " or mariner's compasse^, h©ur-glasses 
a^d sounding-leads. Dr Ravensiein suggests 2 thai he 
may also have possessed quadrants, a catena a fopp^, or 
rope towed astern to determine the ship's leevf'ay, somewhat 
after the manner of a log-Hnei and a tjs^leigMe^jmdrteloia, 
which served the purpose % ^jr^ ers0%cbles, iMb of thei^ 
being " contrivances long siiiSPjBuse «^^|jj||^aiians " 
possibly also an equinoctial /xx)mpa^i^^PKBRerivining 
the hour of high-tide ^ii^^pfi porL,^^(rva variation 
compass. *^ ,, ^ '''^* 

When all was ready, Vasco da Ganla and his three captains 

1 Stanley's Correa, p. 34. ^Roteiro, Appendix D. 


went down to the chapel of Our Lady of Bethlehem (Belem), 
which Prince Henry the Navigator had built for his mariners, 
on the right bank of the Tagus. There they all kept vigil 
during the night of Friday the 7th of July. On the morrow 
they started in solemn procession for the place of em- 
barcation, Vasco and his d'fhcers leading the way, with 
lighted candles in their 'h'ands, while a body of priests and 
friars followed, chanting a Litany. A vast concourse had 
assembled on the mud-flats which then lined the estuary ; 
they stood bare-headed in the blazing July sunshine, 
murmuring the responses to the Litany, and moving with 
the procession as it wound slowly across the foreshore, 
down to that jianding-place which Barros calls " a beach 
of tears for those who depart, a land of delight for those 
who arrive.^/ 

As the procession halted beside the margin of the river, 
the whole multitude fell on their knees in silence, while the 
v^jar of the chapel received a general confession and granted 
absoluticMft to all who roigtit lose their lives on the voyage. 
Then G^jna and his comrades took leave of the weeping 
crowd and were rowed out to their ships. The royal standard 
was hoisted at the maintop of the Sao Gabriel, the Captain's 
scarlet pennant fluttered -above her crow's-nest ; eager 
and excited sailors ran to weigh anchor and unfurl the 
sails, on'feach of which was painted the great red cross of the 
Order of Christ. JFriends and kinsmen said their last 
fare\plls ; the attendant flotilla of small boats sheered off, 
and, with a stern ^^ifid filling their canvas, the four ships 
dropped down {he Tagus, outward bound upon the longest 
ffid, with one exception, the most momentous voyage 
which ^had ever been undertaken. With therfl went a 
carav^ commanded, by Bartholomeu Dias, whose destina- 
tion was Sao Jorge da Mina. He had been made captain 
of the mine, as a reward for his many services. 

Off the Canaries the flotilla lay-to awhile, and fished. 
WinAand weather had hitherto kept fair, but soon afterwards 
a f6g\^esceiided, so dense that the Sao Raphael parted 
from her consorts. It had been arranged that the flotilla 
shouid in such a case meet at Sao Thiago in the Cape Verde 


archipelago. Off the neighbouring island of Sal the Sao 
Raphael fell in with the Berrio, the storeship, and Dias' 
caravel. Before long the flagship was also sighted some 
leagues ahead, and the whole fleet arrived safely at Sao 
Thiago on the 27th of July. There they took in wood, 
provisions and water, and bade farewell to Dias. 



LEAVING the Cape Verdes on the 3rd of August, 
Gama stood south-east and parallel to the African 
coast until, in about 10° N., he reached the region of 
calms and encountered evil weather. When the wind blew 
at all its direction was contrary, and sudden squalls arose 
from time to time and rushed down upon the fleet with 
tropical fury. To escape at once from the doldrums and 
from the baffling winds and currents of the Gulf of Guinea, 
Vasco da Gama conceived the bold and original idea of 
fetching a wide compass through the South Atlantic, so 
that, if possible, he might reach the Cape of Good Hope 
after circUng round the tract in which the experience of 
Cao and Dias had shown that unfavourable weather might 
be expected. He crossed the equator in about 19° W. and 
steered south-westward into an unknown Ocean — por 
mares nunca d* antes navegados. 

Few incidents of this adventure have been recorded. 
In September the fleet reached its westernmost limit, 
within 600 miles of South America, and then headed round 
for the Cape, beating slowly back against the south-east 
trades until, in higher latitudes, a west wind arose and 
carried the explorers on their way. In the last week of 
October a flock of seafowl " resembling herons " came in 
view, flying strongly to the S.S.E. "as though towards the 
land." The author of the Roteiro notes how a whale was 
sighted one day, and after that seals ^ and * sea-wolves ' 
— possibly porpoises. In each case he is precise about 
the date and circumstances ; as though any sign of 
life which broke the monotony of long weeks at sea 

* Reading phocas for the unintelligible quoquas of the Roteiro. 



were a memorable event, to be recorded with scrupulous 

At last, on All Saints* Day, the ist of November, the 
weary mariners perceived some drifting strands of the gulf- 
weed which grows along the South African coast. Three 
days later the leadsmen found bottom in no fathoms, and 
at nine in the morning the look-out in the crow's-nest 
signalled land in sight. Then the ships drew together 
and ran up all their bunting ; the crews turned out on 
deck, in holiday attire, and fired a salute from their 

On the 7th of November they dropped anchor in an inlet 
to which the commander-in-chief gave its present name of 
St Helena Bay. Since leaving the Cape Verdes his fleet 
had spent ninety-six days in the South Atlantic and had 
sailed fully 4500 miles. No navigator of whom there is 
any authentic record had ever completed so long a voyage 
without sight of land. Columbus himself had only traversed 
2600 miles between his departure from the Canaries and 
his first landfall at Guanahani. 

At St Helena Bay Gama went ashore to take the altitude 
of the sun ; on board it was impossible to obtain an accurate 
reading from his primitive astrolabes, owing to the motion 
of the waves. Here the ships were careened^ and fresh 
supplies of wood and water taken in ; here, too, the Portu- 
guese made the acquaintance of some beachranger 
Hottentots from a neighbouring kraal. The Roteiro describes 
them as a tawny folk, clad in skin karosses and wearing 
seashells or bits of copper as earrings. Their arms were 
wooden fish-spears, tipped with antelope-horns, and their 
dogs, according to the same observant author, " barked 
like those of Portugal " — no doubt a friendly sound, 
as reminiscent of home as the notes of the crested 

^ This could only be done in a dead calm, unless the vessels were beached. 
The usual method was to shift the ballast and cargo so as to give the ship 
a heavy list. When she was canted over as far as might be safe, a rough 
scaffolding was fastened to the exposed side, all weed, barnacles and other 
growth were scraped off, and the seams were recaulked. She was 
then righted and heeled over on the opposite side, which was similarly 



larks and turtledoves which flitted among the alien 

The first Hottentot they saw was gathering honey among 
the sandhills which edged the beach ; he was captured, 
given a good meal and a suit of clothes, and sent to summon 
his tribe. Some days of friendly intercourse followed, but 
to the disappointment of the Portuguese, the natives 
showed no interest in samples of gold or cinnamon, though 
they grasped eagerly at such baubles as tin rings and 

A soldier named Femao Velloso received permission to 
accompany them to their kraal. On the way he was regaled 
with a banquet of roots and roasted seal ; but some mis- 
understanding arose, and presently his comrades noticed 
him hurrying back with shouts and excited gestures. They 
had been fishing in the Bay, and had obtained a very mixed 
catch, including some lobsters and a whale, which had dived 
when it felt the harpoon, and had nearly capsized a boat 
with Paulo da Gama aboard. According to Barros they 
were in no hurry to aid Velloso, who ** was for ever boasting 
of his prowess." Camoes tells, with a touch of humour, 
how one of Velloso's shipmates called to him as he ran down 
to the beach : " That hillside seems better to descend than 
to climb." " It is," the soldier shouted back, " but when 
these black dogs came thronging round me, I hastened 
a little, remembering that you were there — without my 
protection." The Roteiro, however, states that Velloso's 
cries were heard on board the ships and a rescue-party set 
off at once ; a scuffle ensued, in which the Hottentots 
bombarded the Portuguese with stones and arrows, and a 
fish-spear struck Vasco da Gama in the leg. 

No Hves were lost in the skirmish and the voyage was 
resumed on Thursday, November the i6th. Pedro de 
Alemquer reckoned the distance to the Cape at about thirty 
leagues, an excellent guess.^ On Saturday the dreaded 
promontory came in sight ; legend had already surrounded 
it with fantastic perils similar to those which had made 

1 Dr Ravenstein states that the actual distance is thirty-three leagues 
{Roteiro, p. 9). 


the whole Atlantic so formidable to mediaeval mariners. 
But among Vasco da Gama's crews were seasoned men, 
who had served with Dias, and it is unlikely that they 
believed the rumours current on shore. During four days 
the wind was dead ahead, and it was not until noon on 
Wednesday, the 22nd of November 1497, that the Cape was 
finally doubled.^ 

A few days later, the fleet cast anchor in the Angra de 
Sao Braz — the Bahia dos Vaqueiros of Dias, the Mossel Bay 
of modern maps. Here, during a stay of thirteen days, the 
storeship was broken up and burned, and her contents 
transferred to the other vessels. Dias had found the 
natives hostile at this point ; they had stoned him when 
he came ashore to fetch water, and he had killed a native 
with a bolt from his crossbow. But Gama was surprised, 
on landing with an armed bodyguard, to find himself 
welcome. He bartered some red caps and small round 
bells for ivory armlets and bought a fat black ox *' as tooth- 
some as the beef of Portugal " ; for the Hottentots kept 
large herds of hornless bullocks, docile beasts, which were 
saddled and ridden by their masters. The Portuguese 
and their hosts vied with each other to display their accom- 
plishments : first the natives " began to play on four or five 
flutes,^ some producing high notes and others low ones, 
thus making a pretty harmony for negroes, who are not 
expected to be musicians ; and they danced in the style 
of negroes '* ; then the sailors, and among them Vasco 
himself, proceeded also to dance — in their boats, and 
accompanied by trumpets. Later on, however, a quarrel 
arose ; the artillery was fired, though only as a ' demonstra- 
tion,' and the Hottentots took refuge in the bush. The 
Roteiro has some curious notes on the ' seals ' of the Bay, 
which were " as big as bears, with large tusks," and on the 
Cape pengiiins {fotylicayros, the sotylicayros of Castanheda, 
Goes and Osorio), birds " as large as ducks, which had 
featherless wings and brayed like asses." 

On Friday the 8th of December Gama set sail once more, 

^ On this date, see Roteiro, I.e. 

■ The gora, a kind of panpipes, made of reeds. 



and by the i6th he had passed the Rio de Infante, the 
farthest landmark discovered by Dias. Northerly winds, 
and the race of the Agulhas current, which here sets strongly 
inshore, flowing in a south-westerly direction, now carried 
the flotilla back, and at one point the pilots found themselves 
no less than sixty leagues abaft their dead reckoning. For 
a time it was feared that no further progress could be achieved, 
but a brisk wind sprang up astern, and presently the fleet 
came abreast of a land to which, as it was Christmas Day, 
Vasco da Gama gave the name of Natal. 

Soon afterwards, they stood away from the land, either 
hoping to escape the force of the Agulhas current and to 
make northing in calmer seas, or fearing to be driven on a 
lee shore by the strong easterly wind. But the mainmast 
of Paulo da Gama's ship was broken and an anchor lost 
through the parting of a cable ; finally the supply of drinking 
water ran short, so that it became necessary to cook with 
brine. The fleet was compelled to turn eastward again, 
and put in at the estuary of the Limpopo. 

A crowd of Bantu, both men and women, had gathered 
on shore, and an interpreter named Martim Affonso, who 
had lived long in Kongo and had learned some of the Bantu 
dialects of the west coast, was sent ashore with one of his 
comrades. They were hospitably received, and in con- 
sequence Vasco da Gama sent the chief of the blacks a 
jacket, a pair of red pantaloons, a bracelet and a Moorish 
cap. These garments the chief donned while escorting his 
two guests inland to the straw-built huts of his capital, 
where they were fed on porridge of millet and " a fowl 
just Hke those of Portugal." All night long, crowds 
of men and women came to stare at the oddly-coloured 
strangers. ' 

The Roteiro notes that weapons of the Bantu were long 
bows and arrows, iron-bladed assegais, and daggers which 
had ivory sheaths and hilts decorated with tin. The people 
wore copper ornaments, and for this reason Vasco da Gama 
named the Limpopo Rio do Cobre, ' River of the Copper.' 
The country he called Terra da Boa Gente, * Land of the 
Good People,' because the Bantu made his men welcome. 


and supplied them with fowls and fresh water. On the 
i6th of January 1498, he continued his voyage and soon 
afterwards rounded the headland known, from the force 
with which the Agulhas current sweeps past it, as Cape 
Correntes. By so doing, he had unawares re-entered the 
civilized world. 




VASCO DA GAMA'S journey brought him face to 
face with three different stages of civilization. 
The first had been that of the Hottentots and Bantu, 
who had never risen far above the level of savagery on which 
their neighbours the Bushmen still halted. The second 
was the Musalman culture of certain hybrid states, half 
Arab half African, which had arisen along the seaboard north 
of Cape Correntes. The third was the civilization of India 

With the second of these Vasco da Gama was now to come 
in contact. Its southern limit was fixed by climatic con- 
ditions at the Cape he had just doubled. Between the 
Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, the main currents of 
the Indian Ocean sweep round from east to west in an 
immense coil, impelled by the south-east trades and the 
Pacific tides which pour through the barrier of the East 
Indies. As the outer rim of the coil breaks against the north 
coast of Madagascar, a vast volume of water is deflected, 
and rushes south along the shores of Africa. It is known 
first as the Mozambique current, and where it nears the 
southern limit of the Continent, as the Agulhas current. 
Its stream, charged with the warmth of the equatorial zone, 
meets a cold Antarctic current at the confluence of the Indian 
and Atlantic Oceans. A region of swift atmospheric change 
is thus created, so that these latitudes have an evil fame 
as a breeding-ground of hurricanes. 

It was small wonder that the Arab navigators did not 
venture their frail dhows on the *' jinn-haunted waters " 
south of Cape Correntes. But farther north the gold and 
ivory of East Africa had for centuries lured adventurous 



merchants from Arabia and Persia, first to trade and then 
to build cities along the littoral. These Muhammadan 
colonists soon acquired harems of native beauties, whose 
half-caste children acted as intermediaries between the 
Asiatics and the tribes of the interior, travelling freely 
among races who would have resented the presence of an 
Arab or European. In time, the half-castes outnumbered 
their fellow-citizens of pure blood. They controlled the 
local traffic, while the maritime commerce remained in the 
hands of the Asiatics, whose dhows — heavy sea-going 
vessels, constructed of rough-hewn planks bolted together 
with wooden tree nails, and made fast with coir rope — could 
cross the ocean to India, Persia and Arabia.^ 

The southernmost of the Muslim settlements was 
Inhambane ; among the most important were the Bazaruta 
Islands, headquarters of a thriving pearl-fishery ; Sofala, in 
the Mozambique Channel, and Kilwa, the principal trading- 
station between Zanzibar and Cape Guardafui. Sofala was 
the most famous of all, being the port of shipment for 
much ivory and for all the gold collected at the mines of 
Great Zimbabwe, in what is now Rhodesia. An ancient and 
improbable tradition, accepted by the first Portuguese 
explorers, identified this region with the Ophir to which 
King Solomon sent " ships of Tarshish " in quest of " ivory 
and gold, apes, peacocks and almug trees." ^ 

Passing Sofala, as he had already passed Delagoa Bay, 
without sighting it, Vasco da Gama anchored in the estuary 
of the Kiliman or Quilimane River on the 24th of January. 
He called it the Rio dos Bons Signaes, or River of Good 
Tokens, because here at last he found signs of civilization. 
Among the Bantu inhabitants were two " gentlemen," 
one of whom wore a head-dress with a silk-embroidered 
fringe and the other a cap of green satin. 

^ A detailed account of Muhammadan civilization in East Africa will be 
found in vol. i. of Dr G. M. Theal's History and Ethnography of South Africa 
before j^qSj London, 1907. 

* On this theory, see Carl Peters, The Eldorado of the Ancients, London, 
1902 ; D. Randall Maclver, Mediceval Rhodesia, London, 1906 ; R. N. 
Hall, Prehistoric Rhodesia, London, 1909. Malacca has also a good claim 
to be regarded as Ophir. 


" They were very haughty/' says the Roteiro, " and valued nothing 
which we gave them. ... A young man in their company — so we 
understood from their signs — had come from a distant country, and 
had already seen big ships like ours." ^ 

Thirty-two days (Jan. 24th to Feb. 24th inclusive) 
were spent in taking in water, cleaning the ships again, and 
repairing the broken mast. Just as all seemed to promise 
well, an epidemic of scurvy broke out among the sailors ; 
men's hands and feet swelled, and their gums grew over 
their teeth so that they could not eat. According to 
Castanheda, Paulo da Gama, who was of a more humane 
character than his brother, busied himself night and day 
in visiting and cheering the sick, among whom he distributed 
the contents of his private medicine-chest. 

Mozambique, the next halting-place, was reached on the 
2nd of March. It was a low-lying coral island, in the mouth 
of an inlet which afforded good anchorage ; its houses were of 
white stone, and along the mainland gardens and palm 
groves had been planted. Four ocean-going Arab ships 
lay in the roadstead, and although the native inhabitants 
were of mixed race, Arabic was freely spoken. Through his 
interpreter, Fernao Martins, who had been for some time 
a prisoner in Morocco, Gama learned that the vessels of the 
" white Moors," or Arabs, were laden with gold, silver, 
cloves, pepper, ginger, and quantities of rubies, pearls, and 
other gems, all of which, except their gold, had been brought 
overseas. Farther on, so Martins was told, precious stones 
and spices were so plentiful that there was no need to buy 
them ; they could be collected in baskets. Equally welcome 
was the tidings that there were Christian settlements along 
the coast, and that Prester John lived on the mainland, 
though far away and only to be reached on camel-back. 
Two supposed Christians had been brought from India as 
captives ; Barros describes them as Abyssinians, and adds 
that they bowed down and adored the figurehead of the 
Portuguese flagship — a wooden statuette of the Angel 
Gabriel. As this is not in accordance with Abyssinian usage, 
the men were probably Hindus, and mistook the angel for 

^ Roteiro, p. 20. 


one of their own deities. The information gained at 
Mozambique, says the Roteiro, ** made us so happy that we 
wept for joy, and prayed God to grant us health that we 
might see what we so desired." ^ 

The Shaikh ^ who governed Mozambique for his suzerain, 
the Sultan of Kilwa, exchanged courtesies with Nicolau 
Coelho and Vasco da Gama, and promised to furnish two 
pilots. But on Saturday, March the loth, the flotilla 
changed its quarters, taking up a berth off the adjacent 
island of Sao Jorge, where mass was said on Sunday. The 
Muhammadans now learned that their guests were Christians. 
So shocked were the pilots at this discovery, that one of 
them could only be retained on board by force, and when 
the Portuguese attempted to seize the other, they were 
ordered off by a crowd of armed men in boats. 

Leaving Mozambique on the 13th of March, the fleet lay 
becalmed for two days, and after drifting some leagues to the 
southward, was compelled to return to its moorings. The 
Shaikh sent a conciliatory message, but when the Portu- 
guese attempted to disembark on the mainland for water, 
their landing was challenged, and during the night the 
Muslims erected a paHsade for the defence of their springs. 
Vasco da Gama ordered the ships' boats to be launched, 
and artillery to be placed in the bows ; his men kept up a 
cannonade for three hours and succeeded in killing two of 
the defenders, after which they rowed back in triumph 
to dinner. Sufficient water was ultimately obtained, but 
as the wind remained light it was not until the 29th of 
March that the fleet was able to leave the neighbourhood of 
Mozambique, having secured two Arab pilots-— skilled men, 
accustomed to the use of compass, quadrant, and navigating 

Mombasa was reached on the eve of Palm Sunday, April 
7th. The Portuguese were eager to go ashore and join the 
supposed Christian community in the celebration of mass. 
After the usual exchange of presents between Gama and the 
local ruler, two men were sent ashore and taken round the 

^ Roteiro, p. 24. 

2 Barros calls him Zacoeja — possibly a corruption of Shah Khwaja. 


city. " They stopped on their way," says the Rotetro, 
*' at the house of two Christian merchants, who showed 
them a paper, an object of their adoration, on which was 
a sketch of the Holy Ghost." ^ Meanwhile the orthodox 
folk of Mombasa were, in their turn, scandalized to learn 
from the Mozambique pilots and some half-castes ^ captured 
by Paulo da Gama that the new-comers were dogs of 
Christians. Vasco da Gama's suspicions were soon aroused, 
especially when his pilots leapt overboard and escaped to a 
native dhow. By a judicious apphcation of boiHng oil, 
he induced two of the half-caste prisoners to divulge the 
details of a scheme by which his fleet was to be boarded and 

A daring attack was made at midnight by armed swimmers 
who strove to cut the anchor-cables of the Berrio and Sao 
Raphael. The watch aboard the Berrio at first mistook 
the splashing and movement for a shoal of tunny, but soon 
discovered their mistake and raised an alarm. Some of the 
Muhammadans had contrived to secure a footing in the 
mizzen-chains of the Sao Raphael, and were beginning 
to clamber up the shrouds ; but on finding themselves 
detected they slid silently back into the water and 

Despite these alarms, Vasco da Gama remained two more 
days off Mombasa, either, as Castanheda suggests, in the 
hope of securing a pilot, or because all the sick on board 
had benefited by the cHmate. He left on the 13th of April, 
still steering in a northerly direction, and at sunset on the 
following day cast anchor off Malindi. 

Malindi, with its lofty whitewashed houses lining the curve 
of a broad bay, and its background of coco-palms, maize- 
fields and herb-gardens, reminded the Portuguese of Alco- 
chete on the Tagus : nor did their welome belie this friendly 
aspect. An old " Moor " who with some companions had 
been captured in a dug-out [almadia) during the brief run 

* Roteifo, p. 36. Burton, Camoens, vol. ii. p. 420, has the following note : 
" It might have been a figure of Kapot-eshwar or Kapotesi, the Hindu 
pigeon-god and goddess ; incarnations of Shiva and his wife, the third 
person of the Hindu Triad noticed in my ' Pilgrimage,' iii. 218." 

* The Roteiro calls them indifferently ' negroes ' or ' Moors/ 



from Mombasa, was sent ashore to greet the Raja and assure 
him of Vasco da Gama's goodwill. The answer, accom- 
panied by a gift of three sheep, was that the strangers might 
enter the port ; they were free of all it contained, including 
the pilots. Not to be outdone in munificence, Vasco sent 
the Raja a return present consisting of a cassock, two 
strings of coral, three wash-hand basins, a hat, some little 
bells and two lengths of striped cotton cloth. This did not 
end the competition : the Raja doubled his gift of sheep 
and added a really valuable consignment of spices, while 
Vasco released all his Muhammadan captives. But he 
had learned caution from experience, and on being invited 
to the royal palace, he answered with more discretion than 
accuracy that the King of Portugal had forbidden him to go 
ashore. He dared not disobey, so would the Raja honour 
him with a visit on board ? 

To this the Raja replied, " What would my own subjects 
have to say if I ventured ? " But curiosity overcame fear, 
and he was rowed out to the ships, royally attired in a 
damask robe trimmed with green satin, and an embroidered 
turban. His dignity required the support of two cushioned 
chairs of bronze ; a crimson satin umbrella protected him 
from the sun, and a band discoursed more or less sweet 
music on various kinds of trumpets, including two which 
were fashioned of ivory and were as large as the musicians 
who performed on them. In this state the Raja made a 
circuit of the Portuguese ships, while the artillery fired 
off salvos in his honour. 

Four vessels in the harbour were said to belong to " Indian 
Christians " — who avowed a curious distaste for beef. 
Some of these " Christians," tawny, bearded men, with long 
braided hair, boarded the Sao Raphael, and prostrated 
themselves before ** an altar-piece representing Our Lady 
at the foot of the Cross, with Jesus Christ in her arms and 
the apostles around her." ^ This they probably regarded 
as a crude and barbaric representation of their own Hindu 
divinities. When Vasco da Gama passed in a boat, " they 
raised their hands and shouted lustily ' Christ 1 * Christ ! ' " 

* Roteiro, p. 44. 


So says the author of the Roteiro : Burton suggests that the 
word was Krishna.^ 

Nine days, from the 15th to the 23rd of April 1498, 
were spent in festivals, music and sham fights. On the 
24th the Portuguese weighed anchor and set sail, under 
the guidance of a Gujarati pilot named Cana, steering east- 
north-east across the Arabian Sea so as to fetch up at 
Calicut on the Malabar Coast of India. 

* Burton, Camoens, Ix. 



FOR twenty-three days the ships held on a straight 
course, favoured by a steady breeze from the south- 
west, the herald of the winter rains. During three 
weeks no land was visible ; but on Friday the i8th of May, 
after skirting the northern islets of the Laccadive group, 
the pilot gave orders to turn eastward, and presently the 
lookout signalled land ahead. It may be supposed — 
though the Roteiro and the chronicles are almost silent on 
the emotions aroused in this moment of supreme triumph — 
that all hands rushed on deck for a first ghmpse of unknown 
Asia. They could discern, far away, the outUne of mountain 
peaks rising above the horizon, dark under gathering clouds. 
On the morrow a thunderstorm broke, and a downpour of 
tropical rain blotted out the Malabar Coast before the pilot 
had time to take his bearings ; but the heights which had 
first come into view may almost certainly be identified not 
as the main rampart of the Western Ghats, but as the out- 
lying promontories of Mount Dely. 

On the 2 1st of May, after a voyage lasting ten months 
and two weeks, the Captain-Major brought his ships to 
anchor off Cahcut. One of the convicts, a converted Jew 
named Joao Nunes, who was acquainted with Hebrew 
and Arabic, was ordered to seek information on shore. 
By some fortunate chance he was led to the house of two 
" Moors " from Oran, who accosted him in Castilian with 
the words " The devil take you ! What has brought you 
hither ? " To this unexpected greeting he answered thj 
he had come with a Portuguese armada, seeking Christi* 
and spices. The Muhammadans, undisturbed by tl 
reference to a rival creed, inquired why the King of France 


the King of Castile, or the Seignory of Venice did not send 
ships to India, and were told that the King of Portugal 
would not allow such an infringement of his rights. Tact- 
fully agreeing that the King of Portugal was wise, they 
took their guest home to a dinner of bread and honey ; 
and one of them, whom the Portuguese called Mongaide, 
afterwards accompanied him back to the flagship. 

On coming aboard, this Moor exclaimed, " A lucky 
venture, a lucky venture ! Plenty of rubies, plenty of 
emeralds ! You should thank God for having brought you 
to so rich a country." Calicut was indeed a city well 
worth sacking. Its resources are truthfully set forth on 
a map which the Genoese Nicholas de Canerio drew in 

" This is Caliqut/' Canerio's legend runs. "It is a most noble 
city discovered by the most renowned prince D. Manoel, King of 
Portugal. Here are much benjamin of fine quality, and pepper and 
numerous other commodities from many regions, with cinnamon, 
ginger, cloves, incense, sandalwood, and all sorts of spices ; stones of 
great value, pearls of great value, and seed-pearls." 

The ruler of the city was called by the Portuguese the 
(Jamorij, which is usually anghcized as Samuri or Zamorin. 
The origin of this term is doubtful ; it may be a corruption 
of the Malayalam Tamiiri (Sanskrit Sdmundri) Raja meaning 

lord of the sea," and either a title or a family name. 
The Samuri was a Hindu who lived in a stone palace outside 
the city, surrounded by his aristocracy — priestly Brahmans, 
and polyandrous Nairs or members of the fighting caste. 
Within the city Hindu mechanics and retail traders dwelt in 
wooden houses thatched with palm-leaves ; a few stone 
buildings, including at least two mosques, had also been 
built by the rich Mopla merchants, descendants of Arab 
fathers and native women, who enjoyed a monopoly of 
maritime commerce. 

The rule of the Samuri was singularly tolerant towards 
these. Muhammadans, as the Muslim author of the Tahafut 
points out. Friday was kept sacred, no Muhammadan 
criminal was executed vidthout the consent of his co-reli- 


gionists, and converts to Islam went unmolested. The 
Persian Abd ur-Razzak, describing Calicut as he saw it in 
1442, says — 

" Security and justice are so firmly established in this city that the 
most wealthy merchants bring thither from maritime countries con- 
siderable cargoes, which they unload, and unhesitatingly send to the 
markets and bazaars, without thinking in the meantime of any 
necessity of checking the accounts or keeping watch over the goods." ^ 

Ludovico di Varthema, writing for Portuguese patrons 
of his own visit in 1505, similarly praises the uprightness of 
judges and merchants. It is clear that the advent of 
Europeans to this well-ordered state was not an unmixed 

Cahcut was a free port, its ruler a Hindu bound by im- 
memorial custom, which he could only disregard at his 
peril. He was probably not over eager for friendship with 
a crew of piratical adventurers whose exploits on the African 
coast may already have been denounced by the Moplas. 
His European guests told him of a mighty kingdom, so far 
away that its existence could not easily be verified ; they 
sought an alliance and commercial privileges, but their 
only visible resources were three battered ships, their gifts 
were unworthy of acceptance, their very touch meant 
ceremonial defilement. Nevertheless, the Samuri was 
prepared to receive them with courtesy, at the risk of 
offending his best customers, the Moplas. As the monsoon 
was now at its height, and Gama would not venture his 
ships inside the harbour for fear of treachery, the Samuri 
sent one of his own pilots to take them to a safe berth near 
Pandarani KoUam, some fifteen miles farther north. He 
also acceded to the request for an audience, and on the 28th 
of May Vasco da Gama landed with thirteen companions 
and started for Cahcut in a palanquin carried by relays of 

On the way he was taken by his native guides to a large 
stone pagoda, roofed with tiles, at the entrance of which 
rose a bronze pillar, tall as a mast and surmounted by the 

^ R. H. Major, India in the Fifteenth Century, London, Hakluyt Society, 
1857, p. 14 of Abd ur-Razzak's narrative. 


figure of a cock. Within was a sanctuary or chapel, con- 
taining a small image, which the guides were supposed to 
identify as a figure of the Virgin Mary. The Portuguese 
felt that their hopes were at last near fulfilment, and that 
the great discovery of a new Christendom in Asia had been 
achieved. They all knelt in prayer, while the Hindus 
prostrated themselves and, if Damiao de Goes can be be- 
lieved, pointed to the image, crying " Maria, Maria ! " ^ 
The author of the Roteiro observes, without a trace of 
surprise, that " many other saints were painted on the 
walls, wearing crowns. They were painted variously with 
teeth protruding an inch from the mouth and four or five 
arms." The unorthodox aspect of these frescoes may have 
caused some misgiving, for Castanheda relates that one 
Joao de Sa, clerk aboard the Sao Raphael, exclaimed as he 
fell on his knees, ** If these be devils, I worship the true 
God." The Roteiro adds that the qua fees who ministered in 
the church wore certain threads, " in the same manner as 
our deacons wear the stole " — an obvious allusion to the 
janeo or sacred cord worn by Brahman priests. " They 
asperged us with holy water," it continues, " and gave us 
some white earth which the Christians of this country 
are wont to sprinkle on the forehead and chest, round the 
neck and on the forearm." The Captain-Major, on receiving 
a supply of " white earth " for his private use, handed it to 
somebody else, giving the priests to understand that he would 
" put it on later." He may have discerned the fact that 
the principal ingredients of the sacred mixture were dust 
and cow-dung. 

- "Arrived at Calicut, Gama and his men were met by a 
'native magnate, whose attendants escorted them through 
the town, marching to the lively strains of drums, trumpets 
and bagpipes, while every roof and window was thronged 
with spectators. After a scuffle at the palace gates, in 
which knives were unsheathed and several men injured — 

1 Upon this Dr Ravenstein has an illuminating note : " The Rev. J. 
Jacob Jaus, of the Basel Mission at Calicut, informs me that there is a local 
deity called Man or Mariamniay much dreaded as the goddess of small-pox, 
and highly venerated. Amma, in Malayalam, means mother." Roteiro ^ 
p. 54. 

. I 


possibly owing to the pressure of the crowd — the Portuguese 
were ushered into the royal presence. They saw the Samuri 
reclining on a green velvet couch under a gilt canopy, and 
I ) holding a massive golden spittoon in his left hand, while 
a cupbearer served him with betel from a golden bowl, so 
large that a man could hardly encircle it with both arms. 
After listening graciously to Gama*s recital of the virtues and 
resources of King Manoel, the Samuri replied that the 
ambassadors were welcome, and that he would regard their 
sovereign as a brother. 

Custom required that all gifts should be forwarded to the 
Samuri through his factor and wall, who were summoned 
on the following day to inspect King Manoel's present. 
To the astonishment of these officials it comprised such 
articles as washing-basins, casks of oil and strings of coral — 
goods which might be acceptable to the headman of a 
savage African tribe, but seemed hardly an appropriate gift 
to the ruler of the greatest commercial port on the west 
coast of India. The factor and the wali were unable to 
conceal their amusement, and although Gama sought an 
escape from his embarrassment by protesting that the gift 
came from himself, not from his sovereign, they advised 
him to send gold or nothing. As, however, gold was none 
too plentiful aboard his ships, the second audience proved 
final. The Samuri pertinently inquired what they had 
come to discover, stones or men. If men, why had they 
brought no gift ? But Gama was allowed to present the 
letters he had brought from King Manoel, which were read 
aloud by Arab interpreters ; and he was granted Uberty 
to land his goods and to sell them if he could find a 
purchaser. ^ 

On the 31st of May the Portuguese started back to 
Pandarani. The sun had already set, and as it was a windy 
night the native boatmen refused to undertake the long 
row out to the ships, which had been moored far from the 
shore. It was not until the 2nd of June that Gama and his 
men were able to return on board ; meanwhile their 
suspicion had magnified the delay into an imprisonment. 
This was perhaps natural, as they were watched at night 


by armed guards — a precaution almost certainly intended 
to secure them from molestation by the Muhammadan 
traders, who spat ostentatiously whenever they met a 
Portuguese. Once he was safe on board, the Captain Major 
seems to have discarded his fears. He unloaded some of 
his merchandise and endeavoured to sell it, but the Muslim 
traders came only to scoff. Gama then despatched a letter 
of protest to the Samuri, who replied courteously, sent an 
agent to assist in selling the goods, and finally had them 
conveyed at his own expense to Calicut. 

From the last week of June until the middle of August 
the fleet remained off Pandarani. Meanwhile small parties 
of sailors went ashore and busied themselves in hawking 
shirts, bracelets and other articles. Their object was to raise 
enough money to buy samples of spices and precious stones. 
Their own goods, however, could not be sold except at a 
heavy loss, and at last Vasco da Gama sent Diogo Dias 
with a gift of " amber, corals and many other things " 
— to inform the Samuri that his ships were about to leave 
for Portugal, and to ask for a consignment of spices on 
behalf of King Manoel. 

The Samuri's factor then explained that before the 
Portuguese departed they must pay the usual customs- 
dues on the merchandise they had landed, amounting to 
600 xerafins (£223). The goods had been warehoused in 
Cahcut, and left there in charge of a Portuguese factor, 
a clerk and a party of sailors. A guard was set over these 
men, who were evidently to be held as hostages until the 
duty was paid. Vasco da Gama retaliated by seizing 
eighteen Hindus who had come to visit his ships. Among 
them were six Nairs whom it was necessary to exchange 
every day for other hostages ; they would have starved to 
death rather than taste the " unclean " food provided by 
their captors. 

On the 25th the ships stood off and anchored outside 
Calicut. They were presently joined by Diogo Dias, who 
brought a letter from the Samuri to King Manoel, written 
with an iron pen on a palm leaf. Its tenor, says the Roteiro, 
was as follows : — 


" Vasco da Gama, a gentleman of your household, came to my 
country, whereat I was much pleased. My country is rich in cinna- 
mon, cloves, ginger, pepper, and precious stones. That which I ask 
of you in exchange is gold, silver, corals, and scarlet cloth." 

Soon afterwards an exchange of hostages was effected : 
all the Portuguese and a portion of their merchandise were 
restored, the residue being probably withheld in lieu of 
duty. Gama yielded up all his captives except five, whom 
he may have kept to compensate himself for the partial 
loss of his goods, though the Rotciro asserts that his object 
was to use these men " for the establishment of friendly 
relations " when he should return to India on a second 

On Wednesday, the 29th of August, the Portuguese 
captains unanimously agreed that as they had discovered 
Christian India, with its spices and precious stones, it 
would be well to depart, especially as the Christians did not 
appear anxious for friendly intercourse. That same day 
the ships set sail for Portugal. 

There is no need to describe the homeward voyage in 
any detail. The passage of the Arabian Sea was delayed by 
calms and contrary winds, while a terrible outbreak of 
scurvy caused the loss of thirty lives. So many of the 
crews fell ill that only six or seven men were left to work 
each vessel. The African coast was at last sighted in the 
neighbourhood of Mukdishu, and on the 7th of January 
1499 the fleet anchored once more in the friendly harbour 
of Malindi. But here also many of the crew died, and after 
five days the voyage was resumed. The Sao Raphael 
was abandoned and set on fire near Mozambique, because 
there were insufficient hands to work her, and the two 
surviving ships rounded the Cape of Good Hope on the 
20th of March. About a month later they parted company, 
Nicolau Coelho taking the Berrio on to Lisbon, where he 
arrived on the loth of July, while Gama steered for the 
Azores in his flagship. There, in the island of Terceira, 
his brother Paulo died of consumption. 

The date of Vasco da Gama's return to Lisbon is not 
certain, but it seems probable that he landed at Belem on 


the 8th or gth of September 1499, and made his triumphal 
entry into the capital on the i8th, the interval being spent 
in mourning and memorial masses for his brother. The 
whole voyage had lasted some two years, and only fifty- 
five men returned out of the 170 who had sailed from Belem ; 
but the quest for Christians and spices had been accom- 
phshed, and Portugal was mistress of the sea-route to India. 



IT is a truism that the discovery of an ocean route to 
India modified the whole course of human history by 
bringing about new and far closer relations between 
East and West. Its other consequences were hardly less 
moment bus. 

Vasco da Gama completed what the Hanseatic League, 
the slave-trade, the finding of America, and the Turkish 
and Barbary corsairs had begun. The Mediterranean 
had been the principal arena of maritime commerce ever 
since the galleys of Tyre and Carthage had set sail in quest 
of tin and amber, slaves and sea-purple. But in the later 
Middle Ages the experience of shipping and exchange 
acquired by the Hansards was studied in the counting- 
houses of a hundred seaports between Cadiz and the Baltic ; 
and when African slaves and American gold began to arrive, 
the middlemen of these ports were well equipped for 
handhng the new commodities. Meanwhile the Ottoman 
navy and the swarm of Muslim pirates or privateers that 
hovered round the littoral of North Africa had been preying 
upon Christian vessels in the Mediterranean and making 
every trade-route perilous. Last of all the traffic in spices, 
drugs and the other priceless wares of the Orient, was 
diverted from its old channels and carried by the 
Portuguese round the Cape to the Atlantic seaboard of 

Such a change, albeit ruinous to the cities that had grown 
rich on the proceeds of the Eastern trade, brought new Hfe 
to Cadiz, Corunna, Lisbon, Antwerp, Dieppe and Bristol. 
In less than a century, the headquarters of trade and finance 
were transferred from Southern to Western Europe, and the 



Atlantic superseded the Mediterranean as the focus of 
European commerce. 

This change involved another, of even greater importance. 

In every country of Europe, the men who cared for ideas 
looked especially to the artists and poets and thinkers of 
Italy for guidance and illumination. No other state could 
vie with Venice and Genoa, Rome and Florence, in brilHancy 
or depth of culture. The Italy of Leo X. was the supreme 
arbiter of taste and science. It set the tone of western 

But the origin of this supremacy was in large measure 
economic. The society described by Benvenuto Cellini in 
his inimitable diary was one in which luxury and splendour 
ranked among the necessaries of life. Without vast 
revenues, the patrons of CeUini and Michael Angelo could 
never have gratified their passion for beauty and learning. 
But the raw material of this opulence came, in the last 
resort, from the East, and came chiefly in the merchant 
ships of Venice. When Portugal took command of the 
sea-borne traffic of India and Persia, the intellectual 
hegemony of the Italian cities was doomed to pass gradually 
away with the passing of their maritime and commercial 
greatness ; and in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries 
their place was taken by France, England and the Low 
Countries. The headquarters of civiHzation, as of commerce, 
were shifted from the coasts of the Mediterranean to the 
coasts of the Atlantic. 

But the growth of Portuguese sea-power compensated 
the peoples of central and south-eastern Europe for the loss 
of trade it inflicted, by helping to avert the peril of Muslim 
preponderance in those regions. In 1500, the tide of the 
Ottoman invasion was nearing the full : two centuries later 
it had hardly begun to recede. As late as 1683 the Turkish 
armies were encamped before Vienna, and long ere this they 
might have been the unchallenged masters not only of the 
Balkan Peninsula, Hungary, Austria, Moldo-Wallachia, 
East Poland and South Russia, but perhaps of Italy itself, 
had they but succeeded in their endeavour to win control 
of the Indian Ocean and to utilize the resources of the East 


for the subjugation of the West. The Portuguese arrived 
opportunely to cut off the Turks from this reserve of 
military and financial strength, and in so doing almost 
accomplished what Prince Henry the Navigator had hoped 
to achieve with the aid of Prester John. 

But men had hardly begun to dream of these far-reaching 
changes when Vasco da Gama came home in 1499. King 
Manoel's first care was to determine how he might use his 
good fortune to the best advantage ; and ere many days 
elapsed he had thought out a policy. Its nature is indicated 
in a letter he wrote to Ferdinand and Isabella within a 
month of Gama's return. 

" The Christian people whom these explorers reached are not 
as yet strong in the faith, nor thoroughly conversant with it. . . . 
But when they shall have been fortified in the faith, there will be an 
opportunity to destroy the Moors of those regions. Moreover we 
hope, with the help of God, that the great trade which now enriches 
those Moors . . . shall be diverted to the natives and ships of our 
own realm." ^ 

Friendship with the ' Christians/ war with the ' Moors * : 
these were to be the watchwards of Portuguese poUcy in 
the East. 

On the 9th of March 1500, thirteen powerfully-armed 
ships sailed from Lisbon under the command of Pedro 
Alvares Cabral. On board were skilled gunners, Franciscan 
friars, and merchants under orders to buy and sell in the 
King's name. Cabral himself went forth not as an explorer 
but as a conqueror ; as the envoy of a monarch who had 
already assumed the grandiose title — " King, by the Grace 
of God, of Portugal and of the Algarves, both on this side 
the sea and beyond it in Africa, Lord of Guinea and of the 
Conquest, Navigation, and Commerce of Ethiopia, Arabia, 
Persia, and India." ^ Cabral was accompanied by the 
veteran Bartholomeu Dias, who was charged vrith the 
foundation of a factory in Sofala. Sailing far to the west, 
so as to shun the stormier middle reaches of the Atlantic, 

* Roteiro, p. 114, for a full history and translation of this letter. 

* The title was first used by the King in a letter dated August 28th, 1499. 
It was confirmed by Pope Alexander VI. in 1502. Roteiro, l,c. 


the voyagers came, on the 22nd of April, to a new land 
which they called the Terra da Santa Cruz, though that name 
was soon discarded in favour of Brazil. And thus, by chance 
or by design,^ Cabral secured for Portugal an empire destined 
to be richer and greater than all her dominions in Asia. 

In the last week of May, his ships were lying becalmed 
not far from the Cape, with canvas set ready to catch the 
first faint stir of air. There was no time to shorten sail 
when a sudden tornado swooped down on the fleet, bringing 
darkness and a mountainous sea. Four ships foundered 
with all hands, and in one of them Bartholomeu Dias went 
down, finding a grave in those waters of the Mar Tenebroso 
whose secret he had been the first to fathom.^ 

Many weeks passed before Cabral could reunite his 
scattered armada, and it was only on the 13th of September 
1500 that he at last anchored before Calicut. The Samuri 
vouchsafed him an audience, and permitted him to found 
the first Portuguese factory ever opened in India ; but 
disputes soon arose between the Muslim traders and their 
competitors, who sought to monopolize the first choice of 
cargo. The result was a riot, in which an infuriated mob 
of the faithful stormed the factory and put all its occupants 
to the sword. Cabral retaliated by bombarding the city 
until its wooden houses caught fire. He then sailed away 
to the neighbouring Malabar port of Cochin, where the Hindu 
Raja permitted the estabhshment of a second factory. 
This was the beginning of a durable friendship ; for Cochin 
remained the headquarters of the Portuguese in India 
until they secured a capital of their own. Cabral next 
visited Cananor, at the invitation of the Hindu Rani, and 
loaded his ships with pepper for the homeward voyage. 
He was back in Lisbon by the 31st of July 1501. 

His experience enlightened King Manoel on the distinc- 
tion between Christianity and Hinduism ; it also proved that 
Indian merchandise weU repaid the cost of transportation 

^ See above, p. lo, note. 

* Duarte Pacheco's fine coloured drawing of the armada overtaken by 
this storm is reproduced in Esmeraldo de Situ Orhis ; as the work of an 
eye-witness, it has much historical interest. 


by sea, despite the length and manifold hazards of the 

Four ships of burden had already been despatched to 
Malabar under the command of Joao da Nova ; but their 
adventures are not memorable except for the discovery 
of Ascension (originally named Conception) on the outward 
run, and of St Helena on the return. The equipment of a 
larger fleet was decreed as soon as Cabral returned, and after 
some delay the supreme command was entrusted to D. 
Vasco da Gama, who set sail from the Tagus on the loth 
of February 1502.^ 

A Portuguese squadron, left behind by Cabral to cruise 
along the coast of East Africa and prospect for trade, had 
already visited Sofala, where its commodore, Sancho de 
Toar, had made a friend of the local Shaikh Isuf. Gama 
touched at the same port, but the " gold of Ophir " ^ ^^-^s not 
forthcoming in such quantities as to detain him long, and 
after calling at Mozambique he made north to Kilwa. 
Cabral had put in here on his homeward passage, and had 
met with a rebuff from Ibrahim, the Emir, who showed 
a not unnatural reluctance either to accept Christianity 
or to forgo his share in the Sofala gold trade at the dictation 
of an entire stranger. This behaviour was interpreted as 
arrogance and malice ; Gama accordingly threatened to 
burn the town if Ibrahim would not own himself a vassal 
of King Manoel and pay tribute. The Emir consented to 
acknowledge Portuguese suzerainty, and gave as security for 
the tribute a rich and unpopular citizen named Muhammad 
Ankoni. As Muhammad knew that the money would be 
withheld and his own life forfeited, he handed over 2,000 
mithkals ^ (£1041) out of his private fortune — an arrangement 

1 D. Vasco — for he was now entitled to use the prefix Dom — had fifteen 
ships : the Flemish author of Calcoen, who was on board, says seventy, but 
this must be a clerical error. Five more ships, under the Admiral's cousin 
Estevao da Gama, followed on the ist of April, and joined the main body 
near Kilwa. Thome Lopes, author of the chief extant account of the 
voyage, sailed with this second squadron. See Appendix A. Special 
Bibliography : " Vasco da Gama," for these narratives. 

» Lopes, p. 134. 

3 Goes and Castanheda agree in making 2000 mithkals the amount. 
Barros puts it at 500. Calcoen is silent and Lopes had not yet joined the 


readily accepted by D. Vasco who did not trouble to enquire 
whence the money came so long as it was paid. 

Near the Malabar Coast, the fleet overhauled a large dhow 
named the Meri, which was bringing a crowd of Muhammadan 
pilgrims home from Mecca. Lopes ^ declares that the wealth 
on board would have sufficed to ransom every Christian 
slave in *' the kingdom of Fez," and even then to leave a 
handsome balance. But the o\vners refused to yield up 
more than a tithe of their riches, and so incurred the wrath 
of D. Vasco. In a vivid and moving passage, Lopes 
describes how the Portuguese fired the Meri and then stood 
by to watch her burn, heedless of the women who thronged 
the blazing decks, holding up their babies in a vain appeal 
for pity. 2 The narrative in Calcoen is even more eloquent 
in its naked callousness : — 

" We took a Mecca ship on board of which were 380 men and many 
women and children, and we took from it fully 12,000 ducats, with 
goods worth at least another 10,000. And we burned the ship and 
all the people on board with gunpowder, on the first day of October." 

D. Vasco proceeded on his way, doubtless well pleased 
with this exploit, and anchored off CaUcut on the 30th of 
October 1502. The Samuri, now thoroughly alarmed, sent 
envoys to make overtures of peace and alHance, but 
D, Vasco treated them with scorn, declaring that his royal 
master could fashion a king as good as the Samuri out of 
a palm-tree, and demanding nothing less than the banish- 
ment of every Musalman in CaHcut. To emphasize this 
mandate, he seized and hanged a number of helpless traders 
and fishermen, whose vessels were then in harbour. The 
heads, hands and feet of these unfortunates were then cut 
off and flung into a boat, which was allowed to drift ashore, 
bearing an appropriate message written in Arabic. Correa 

main fleet. The mithkal was a certain weight of pure uncoined metal, 
used as a standard of exchange. In East Africa it was worth 467 teis in 
1554, or I mithkal =ios. 5d. (taking the real at •268d.). 

1 Lopes, pp. 136-137. 

" " Alcune donne pigliauano iloro piccoli figluoli, e alzauangli con le 
mani, faccendo segno, second© 11 nostro giudicio che si hauesse pieti di 
quelli innocenti." 



says that the missive recommended the Samuri to make 
curry of the severed members.^ 

Cahcut was bombarded once more, and D. Vasco sailed 
away to load spices at Cochin, Cananor and other ports 
which were either friendly or afraid to be hostile. He then 
headed for home, leaving behind him the trail of blood and 
ashes which was so often to advertise the movements of a 
Portuguese armada. 

The main body of the fleet arrived in Lisbon on the ist 
of September 1503 : " and so," concludes the devout 
author of Calcoen, *' we reached Portugal safe and sound — 
Deo gratias." There can be little doubt that the burning of 
the Meri and similar achievements were regarded in Europe 
as laudable manifestations of zeal for religion. D. Vasco, 
had his conduct been challenged, would assuredly have 
answered, with honest and indignant surprise, that he was 
only doing his duty as a Christian in exterminating the vile 
brood of Muhammad ; that his acts of piracy and pillage 
were authorized by " letters of marque from God." ^ 

D. Vasco had left in Indian waters five ships commanded 
by his mother's brother, Vicente Sodre, who was commis- 
sioned to guard the Cochin and Cananor factories, and to 
watch the Strait of Bab el-Mandeb in summer, so as to in- 
tercept Muhammadan merchantmen and pilgrim transports. 
These five ships, with Sancho de Toar's squadron, were the 
first permanent naval force stationed by Europeans in the 
Orient ; and their presence, in contrast with the earlier 
trading-voyages and plundering raids, indicates that King 
Manoel was determined to render effective his command 
of the Indian and Arabian Seas. 

1 Correa's narrative is far more horrible than those of the two eye- 
witnesses. It has been suggested that he exaggerated to enhance the glory 
of his hero — a curious point of view. 

* The phrase coined or made famous by the ' abolitionist ' John Brown 
exactly expresses the point of view of these ' crusaders.' 



AFTER his second voyage to India, Vasco da Gama 
ceased for twenty-one years to take any prominent 
part in public affairs. His retirement has been 
ascribed to pique at the meagreness of his reward, and to 
the King's jealousy of able and strong-willed servants. 
Neither view is quite consistent with the few documents 
which illuminate this part of Gama's career, nor is there any 
real difficulty to be solved. The great navigator had so 
many inducements to a life ashore that nothing but a strong 
sense of duty or an insatiable thirst for adventure could 
have lured him to sea again. 

He had married D. Catherina de Athayde, a lady of 
rank, and doubtless he felt that desire for land and a home 
which is not rare among those who follow the sea. More- 
over, the King had given him the means to gratify such 
an ambition. In January 1500 ^ Gama and his heirs had 
been granted a pension of 300,000 rcis (£362). In February 
1501 a pension of 1000 cruzados (£483), and in February 
1504 a hereditary annuity of 1000 cruzados had been added. 
These revenues, which appear to have been paid partly in 
kind, were secured by a multiplicity of charges — on the 
fisheries of Sines and Villa Nova de Milfontes, neighbouring 
ports ; on the gold brought home from Sao Jorge da Mina ; 
on the excise levied at Sines and the adjacent village of 
Sao Thiago de Ca9em ; on the Lisbon salt tax and timber 
octroi. Gama also received a hereditary interest in the 
royal commerce with India. So rich had he become by 
1507 that the Venetian ambassador Leonardo Masser 

^ i.e. within six months of his return. The date is commonly given as 
1502, but see Ar. Hist. Port., I. ii. 25 seg. {1903). 



estimated his income at £1929 : in the whole of Portugal 
only six noblemen and seven princes of the Church could 
boast of larger revenues.^ According to the ambassador, 
Gama had a fitful temper, and showed no gratitude for the 
favours lavished on him. The great man's wrath may, 
however, have been patriotism in disguise. He probably 
chafed under the conviction that his country and service 
were going to the dogs ; and when he foregathered with his 
retired shipmates — stout, florid and peppery old gentlemen 
like himself — that conviction would be expressed in pretty 
vigorous terms. 

Vasco da Gama's personal ambition by no means stopped 
short at vast wealth. It is quite clear that he sought a place 
among the feudal nobility, a title and a manorial domain. 
He had been given, almost certainly in 1499, the coveted 
hereditary style of Dom ; this was confirmed in 1502 not 
only to him, but to his brother Ayres and, in its feminine 
form of Dona, to his sister Tareyja (Theresa). In January 
1500, a new ofiice, the Admiralty of India, was created for 
his benefit by a royal rescript which is still extant. In 
language which strives to be worthy of the occasion, it 
names D. Vasco da Gama, Gentleman of the King's House- 
hold, as 

" Admiral of the aforesaid India, with all the pre-eminences, liberties, 
power, jurisdiction, revenues, privileges and rights which, as apper- 
taining to the aforesaid Admiralty, our Admiral of those our realms 
ought by right to possess, and does hereby possess." ^ 

That the honour was no empty form is shown by a 
document dated the 30th of March 1522, which affirms 
D. Vasco's right, as Admiral of India, to the anchorage-dues 
of Goa, Malacca and Ormuz.^ 

There remained the problem of a territorial title and an 
estate. On Christmas Eve 1499 Gama had been promised 
the manor of Sines, his birthplace ; but it was first necessary 
to obtain the consent of its owners, the Order of Sao Thiago, 
together with a dispensation from the Pope. The Order 

^ Roteiro, p. 227. ^ Ar. Hist. Port., I.e. 

3 L. Cordeiro, O Premio da Descoberta, Lisbon, 1897, pp. 46-47. 


had also to be compensated by the grant of another town, 
which was no easy matter to arrange. Tired of waiting, 
the Admiral took the law into his own hands, began to build a 
manor-house, and generally behaved as though Sines already 
belonged to him. A church which he founded there still 
stands, grey and weather-beaten, on a headland over- 
looking the Atlantic. 

The Grand Master of Sao Thiago, incensed by these high- 
handed proceedings, complained to King Manoel, and in 
March 1507 Gama was warned that he must leave Sines 
within a month or take the consequences. ^ The fact that 
the royal pleasure was made known through Joao da Gama, 
uncle of the Admiral and Bursar of the Order of Sao Thiago, 
probably did not tend to lighten the blow. D. Vasco 
withdrew to Evora, a quiet cathedral city in the heart 
of the Alemtejo, where he lived in a house decorated with 
painted figures of Indians and Indian beasts and plants : 
the gilded scrollwork on the walls was said to have been 
made of gold brought home from the East.^ 

Gama had six sons and one daughter, Isabella de Athayde 
by name. Francisco, the eldest son, succeeded to his fortune 
and rank ; Estevao, the second, became Governor of India 
in 1540 and died in Venice, whither he had emigrated to 
avoid marrying a wife selected by his sovereign ; Paulo, 
the third, was killed in a naval action off Malacca, in 1534 ; 
Christovao, the fourth, died the hero of a forlorn hope in 
Abyssinia, in 1542 ; Pedro da Silva, the fifth, became Captain 
of Malacca in 1541 ; Alvaro de Athayde, the youngest, 
succeeded to the same office. 

Despite the Sines imbrogho, Gama was not in disgrace. 
It is possible that he acted as informal adviser to the Crown 
on matters of Indian and maritime policy ; if Correa can be 
trusted, he certainly did so until 1505.^ King Manoel 
sought in 1508 to bestow on him the town of Villafranca de 
Xira, in the Tagus valley, but the transfer was never com- 

1 Teixeira de Aragao, Vasco da Gama e a Vidigueira, pp. 250-52. 

2 The street in which it stands is still known as the Rua das Casas 
Pintadas ; but Gama's house has been modernized and its decorations 
have disappeared. 

3 Correa, vol. i. pp. 525 and 529. 


pie ted. Ten years passed and still the Admiral remained 
without his title and his manor. At last, in August 15 18, 
he protested that if nothing were done he would leave the 
kingdom. 1 One famous navigator, Fernao Magalhaes, better 
known as Magellan, had already deserted Portugal for 
Castile, because he considered himself insufficiently paid, 
and the King was not disposed to lose another servant so 

He bade the Admiral wait until December and try to 
realise the error of his ways. Meanwhile the Duke of 
Bragan9a came forward and offered to surrender the town 
of Vidigueira and the title of Count, in exchange for a heredi- 
tary pension of 1000 cruzados and 4000 cruzados (;fi932) 
paid down. These conditions were duly fulfilled, and 
in December 1519 King Manoel formally conferred on 
D. Vasco da Gama the title Count of Vidigueira, with civil 
and criminal jurisdiction, ecclesiastical patronage, and all 
other privileges and revenues which had been enjoyed by 
the Duke of Braganga as lord of the manor of Vidigueira 
and Villa de Frades.^ These two villages lie close to one 
another among the southern foothills of the Serra Mendro, 
commanding a wide prospect over the undulating plains 
of southern Alemtejo. There is no evidence to show that 
the Count Admiral ever resided on his new estates ; except, 
indeed, for the documents relating to his honours and 
rewards, his life during the twenty-one years of his retire- 
ment is completely unrecorded. It is not until after the 
death of King Manoel in 1521, that he emerges once more 
into the half-light of history. 

^ Aragao, pp. 257-58. 

2 Aragao, pp. 258-59, and Cordeiro in Boletim for 1892, p. 289. 






WHILE D. Vasco remained at home amassing wealth 
and honour, his comitrymen were winning fresh 
laurels in the East. Their artillery gave them 
an immense advantage in maritime warfare ; while on land 
their fighting power was demonstrated in 1504, when a 
handful of Portuguese and some natives under Duarte 
Pacheco Pereira ^ held Cochin for months against an over- 
whelming host, sent for their destruction by the Samuri of 
Calicut. As a reward for this exploit, the Raja of Cochin 
granted Pacheco a coat of arms — an escutcheon gules " in 
token of the blood he had shed," charged with five crowns 
emblematic of the five princes he had ovrethrown in battle : 
so runs the original patent,^ dated 1504, which gives the 
Raja's name as Itiramamametim QuUuniramd Coul 
Trimumpate. On his return to Portugal, in July 1505, 
Pacheco received further rewards from King Manoel ^ ; 
when he married, the Treasury was commanded to pay a 
dowry of 120 milreis (£223) to his wife, D. Antonia ; pensions 
were bestowed upon his children and grandchildren, and 
he was immortahzed by Camoes as the Achilles Lusitano. 
But although the defence of Cochin cast a reflected lustre 
upon King Manoel, it revealed certain weaknesses. Isolated 
factories were in jeopardy whenever the seasonal winds 

^ See Appendix A : General Bibliography, s.v. Esmeraldo. 

* Printed in Esmeraldo, p. xix. 

^ This is certain, despite the suggestions — they cannot be called state- 
ments — to the contrary of Goes, Camoes and others. The documentary 
evidence will be found in the introduction to Esmeraldo. In 1509 Pacheco 
was employed to hunt down the French corsair Mondragon ; in 1522 he 
was made Governor of Sao Jorge da Mina ; in 1524 he was pensioned. 



prevented navigation, and the growth of commerce required 
that the old haphazard methods of piracy and pillage should 
give place to order and system. Accordingly, a new office, 
the Viceroyalty of India, was created in 1505, and the first 
Viceroy, a soldier of tried wisdom named D. Francisco de 
Almeida, sailed from Lisbon in March of the same year, 
invested with full power to wage war, conclude treaties and 
regulate commerce. East of the Cape his word was to be 
law wherever the Portuguese flag flew.^ 

The Viceroy was more than a mere conqueror : in a letter 
to King Manoel he formulated a system of government 
based on definite strategic and commercial principles. ^ 
Its fundamental idea is the importance of sea-power ; for 
the '' blue water-school " of naval strategy never had a 
more convinced champion than Almeida. " Avoid the 
annexation of territory," he writes, ** build no more 
fortresses than may be absolutely necessary to protect your 
factories from a sudden raid : we can spare no men from 
the navy." 

The dearth of trained men was, indeed, already manifest 
and ominous. Even in Almeida's fleet one caravel was 
manned by sons of the soil so raw that they could hardly 
distinguish between their right and left hands. As the ships 
wore to sea, these bold mariners found themselves confronted 
by a problem still more recondite — the subtle difference 
between starboard and larboard. They faced the problem 
without prejudice and steered accordingly, until their 
captain, Joao Homem, lit upon the happy notion of tying 
a bundle of garlic over one side of the ship and a handful 
of onions over the other, and bidding the pilot give his 
orders to the helmsmen thus — " Onion your helm ! " 
" Garlic your helm ! " 

^ Since 1505 the Viceroy or Governor has always been the highest 
legislative and executive authority in Portuguese India. The normal 
tenure of office in the sixteenth century was for three years. The dis- 
tinction between a Viceroyalty and a Governorship was purely titular — 
a matter of rank and precedence, not of power. 

2 Reproduced by Correa, and transcribed from the original by H. Lopes 
de Mendon9a in the Annaes das Sciencias e Lettras of the Academia Real, 
Lisbon, 1857. 


Almeida regarded maritime power solely as a means to com- 
mercial supremacy in the East. Missionary and crusading 
ideals were for the moment in abeyance : the whole purpose 
of his policy was to secure for King Manoel a monopoly in 
the exportation of Indian and East African products to 
Europe. This merchandise, of which the letter gives a 
somewhat miscellaneous catalogue — including pepper, slave- 
girls, silk — had hitherto reached Europe through the Persian 
Gulf and the Red Sea, whence it passed by caravan to 
the Italian and Levantine ships awaiting it in various 
Mediterranean ports. In Indian waters, the carrying trade 
was exercised almost exclusively by Muhammadans — Arab 
and Persian, Turk and Egyptian. Almeida's plan was to 
drive these infidels from the seas, to put Portuguese traders 
in their place, and to divert the Indian export-trade to the 
Cape route. 

As for the King's interests on land, they would be secured 
by alliances with the Hindu Rajas, who would supply cargo 
and guard the factories in return for the protection of the 
Portuguese navy. Thus the original policy of friendship 
with the " Christians " and war against the Muhammadans 
was brought up to date. And here Almeida found a sage 
counsellor in a Hindu corsair named Timoja, who, as 
Albuquerque's Commentaries affirm, " had risen by piracy 
to high honour." Timoja commanded a squadron of the 
swift, undecked, single -masted galleys known as foists, 
with which he was wont to sally forth and harry Muham- 
madan traders, partly in the interest of his sovereign, the 
Raja of Honawar (tributary to Vijayanagar). In an 
encounter with D. Vasco da Gama he had learned to respect 
the strength of the Portuguese, whose favour he thence- 
forward courted. 

Acting on Timoja's counsel, the Viceroy sought to con- 
ciliate the Hindu empire of Vijayanagar, which embraced 
nearly the whole of the Indian Peninsula south of the rivers 
Kistna and Tungabhadra. Since the fourteenth cenutry, 
when the Muslim conquerors had swept down over Northern 
India, Vijayanagar had been the stronghold of fighting 
Hinduism. Its warriors were reckoned by hundreds of 


thousands : its material resources were boundless, as 
Firishta and the Portuguese annalists aUke testify. During 
the critical years in which the Portuguese empire was being 
founded and stablished, Vijayanagar drew the fire of Islam. 
It occupied the forces which might otherwise have united 
to hurl the Christian intruders back into their sea. Its 
downfall, in 1565, did at last permit the formation of such 
a coalition, but by that time the Portuguese dominion had 
acquired strength to weather the storm unaided. Meanwhile, 
Almeida was the first to comprehend how vital it was to the 
interests of his country that Vijayanagar should be friendly 
or neutral.^ 

His ability to maintain command of the sea was soon 
tested. Two Oriental powers — Egypt,^ which was still 
supreme in the Red Sea, and the Ottoman empire, which 
had access to the Persian Gulf at Basra — possessed naval 
forces quite strong enough to cope with any European rival. 
Their fleets were equipped with powerful artillery and were 
partly manned by mercenaries who had learned the arts 
of war and seamanship in the Mediterranean. Neither 
power was willing tamely to acquiesce in the ruin of its 
Indian trade, but the first challenge came from the Memluk 
Sultan of Egypt. In 1508 an Egyptian fleet left Suez for 
India, commanded by Mir Hussain, whom the Portuguese 
chroniclers call *' Admiral of the Grand Soldan of Cairo 
^nd Babylonia." Mir Hussain surprised and defeated a 
small Portuguese squadron off Chaul ; and the Viceroy's 
only son, D. Lourengo de Almeida, was killed in the action. 
A cannon-ball shattered both his legs, but he sat by the 
mainmast and continued calmly to direct the fighting 
and navigation of his ship until a second shot ended 
his life. 

The Viceroy, whose whole being centred in his devotion 

1 Two detailed descriptions of Vijayanagar, ' by Portuguese travellers 
who visited the country during the sixteenth century, will be found 
(translated) in A Forgotten Empire : Vijayanagar, by R. Sewell, 
London, 1900. See also A History of Vijayanagar, by B. S. Row, 
London, 1906. 

* Egypt was independent until 1517, when it was conquered by the 
Ottoman Sultan Selim I. 


to his son, received the tidings with outward stoicism/ 
telling his captains that regrets were for women, and that 
" those who had eaten the cockerel must eat the cock or 
pay the price." Having mustered a force of 19 ships and 
1300 men, he hurried north to take vengeance. 

Mir Hussain had selected as a base the island seaport of 
Diu, l5^ng south of the Kathiawar Peninsula (in Gujarat). 
The fame of his first success had brought him reinforce- 
ments — 300 foists from the Samuri of Calicut and some 
local auxiliaries commanded by the Governor of Diu, a 
Russian renegade who had adopted the creed of Islam and 
the name of Malik Aiyaz. 

The two opposing fleets met on the 3rd of February 
1509. Mir Hussain had berthed his ships at the mouth 
of the narrow channel which flows between Diu and the 
mainland of Gujarat : it was his purpose, as soon as the 
Portuguese boarders grappled them, to run close inshore 
where he would have the support of Mahk Aiyaz's batteries, 
while the enemy's ships would be entangled with his own, 
and their crews too hotly engaged in a hand-to-hand combat 
to repel by gunfire the swarm of foists from Calicut. 
Almeida, however, had foreseen this manoeuvre, and was 
prepared to frustrate it by anchoring his ships from the 

The sea-fight which was to decide whether Egypt and 
Portugal should rule in Indian waters began about noon, 
and was long and stubbornly contested. [ On either side 
the towering fore and after castles of the galleons and 
other great fighting-craft broke into flame from a multitude 
of guns — sakers and culverins, hopes and cradles, serpents 
and camels, falcons and black eagles : every piece had its 
generic title, and many were also baptized as the fancy 
of each gun-crew might dictate, often with the name of 
the master-gunner's patron saint or sweetheart. 

The long-range artillery-duel was only the prelude to 
more deadly work at close quarters. Favoured by a 
stern-wind the Portuguese ships bore rapidly down on the 

^ Correa describes the scene in a passage of singular dramatic power, 
vol. i. p. 775. 


Egyptians, until they were near enough for the Malabar 
longbowmen stationed amidships and in the fighting tops 
to open fire : few matchlocks had yet been imported 
from Europe. As the hostile vessels came to grips, each 
manoeuvred for an opportunity to ram her adversary ; 
and where these tactics failed, grappling irons were flung 
and boarding-parties, armed with half-pikes and axes, 
leaped down from the bows and charged, some calling on 
Allah to smite the dogs of Christians, others shouting 
their invocation to St Vincent of Lisbon or St Blaise, the 
guardian of mariners, whose festival it was. At intervals, 
above the din of prayers, oaths and shrieks — of volleying 
guns, splintered oars and shattered hulls — the commands 
of the officers rang out sharply, to be repeated word for 
word by subordinates hidden somewhere amid clouds of 
sulphurous smoke or dimly revealed by the glimmer of 
the battle-lanterns. Down below, the surgeon and his 
assistants were overworked ; in the magazine-room, where 
tarpaulins dripping with sea-water served as fenders against 
flying sparks, the fire-captain dealt out gunpowder, hand- 
grenades and cannon-balls of cast-iron, bronze or granite. 
In every galley the overseer paced to and fro, distributing 
blows and curses among the half-naked slaves who groaned 
and sweated over the long sweeps to which they were 
manacled in pairs. 

When it became evident that Mir Hussain's plan had 
miscarried, the foists ventured forth from the channel in 
the desperate hope of effecting a diversion. They were 
manned by warrior Nairs, who had donned all their caste- 
ornaments and dedicated themselves to death : but courage 
availed nothing against artillery, and their fragile craft 
were sunk in batches. Before night the carnage came to 
an end ; and Almeida, as Corr^a says, could bid his captains 
rejoice over " the good vengeance Our Lord has been 
pleased, of His mercy, to grant us.'' 

Meanwhile his term as Viceroy was already ended, and 
his successor, Affonso de Albuquerque, was waiting in 
Cochin to take over the administration. Albuquerque 
had previously attempted to render Ormuz tributary to 


King Manoel, but had been baffled by the insubordination 
of his officers, whose ringleader was Joao da Nova, the 
discoverer of St Helena and Ascension. In India, the 
mutineers formed a hostile faction against the new Governor, 
and urged Almeida not to yield up his authority. There 
ensued an elaborate wrangle, illustrating, even at this 
early period, the saying of Faria y Sousa that " Portuguese 
officials and their places were like soul and body — not to 
be severed without agony." At last, in November 1509, 
a fleet arrived from Lisbon under D. Fernando do Coutinho, 
the Marshal of Portugal, a kinsman and representative 
of King Manoel, whose word could not be gainsaid. The 
Marshal installed Albuquerque in office, and on the ist of 
December D. Francisco de Almeida sailed for Europe. 

On the voyage home, he put in at Table Bay (then known 
as the Agoada de Saldanha) for fresh water ; and there 
some of his men were injured in a skirmish with the native 
Hottentots. The affair seems to have been due to a mis- 
understanding, but the ever bellicose fidalgos vowed that 
it was an insult to Portuguese honour, and that the savages 
must be chastised. They prevailed upon Almeida to lead 
a punitive expedition, although he appears to have felt 
some misgivings : " Whither are you carrying sixty years ? '* 
he enquired, as they helped him to disembark. 

A strong force was landed, but its swords and pikes were 
useless against the assegais of fire-hardened wood which 
could kill at long range. Having decoyed the white men 
inland, the Hottentots prevented a retreat by whistHng 
their cattle to rush in between the boats and those who 
vainly attempted to fly. Sixty-five Portuguese were 
slaughtered in this inglorious affray, and among them 
was D. Francisco de Almeida. 



ship with the royal houses of Portugal and Castile 
His surname and ancestral estates were originallj 
acquired through the marriage of D. Theresa Martins 
a granddaughter of Sancho III. of Castile, to D. Affonsc 
Sanches, natural son of the Portuguese King Diniz th( 
Farmer and of his Spanish mistress, D. Aldonsa de Sousa 
Theresa had brought large estates to her husband, among 
them being the castle and manor of Albuquerque — or more 
correctly Alboquerque^ — near Badajoz. Her descendants 
on both sides of the frontier had distinguished themselves 
in war and statecraft ; one had been Grand Master of the 
Knights of Santiago, another Lord High Admiral of Portugal, 
a third Lord High Steward of Castile. 

Believers in heredity will not find it hard to account for 
the mihtary and administrative talents of Albuquerque. 
His skill in finance may similarly be an inheritance from 
his maternal grandmother, D. Guiomar de Castro. This 
lady solaced her widowhood by keeping a kind of aristo- 
cratic pawnshop, in which even King Affonso V. was not 
ashamed to pledge the royal plate {haixella), when he 
needed funds for his African enterprises. 

Albuquerque's early training is described in sonorous 
language by Diogo Barbosa Machado : — 

" D. Affonso de Albuquerque^ surnamed the Great^ by reason of 
the heroic deeds wherewith he filled Europe with admiration_, and Asia 
with fear and tremblings was born in the year 1453, in the Estate 
called, for the loveliness of its situation, the Paradise of the Town of 
Alhandra, six leagues distant from Lisbon. He was the second son 

* This was the spelling invariably adopted by Albuquerque himself. 




of Gongalo de Albuquerque, Lord of Villaverde, and of D. Lenor 
de Menezes, daughter of D. Alvaro Gongalves de Athayde, Count of 
Atouguia, and of his wife D. Guiomar de Castro, and corrected this 
injustice of nature ^ by climbing to the summit of every virtue, both 
political and moral. He was educated in the Palace of the King 
D. Affonso v., in whose palaestra he strove emulously to become the 
rival of that African Mars." ^ 

It cannot be said that his efforts brought him early 
fame. He was page to Affonso V. and equerry to John II. ; 
he fought against the Moors in Africa and the Turks in 
the Mediterranean ; after 1503 he saw much service in 
the East. But his most ambitious venture, at Ormuz, 
was frustrated by the disloyalty of his captains, and he had 
as yet given no clear proof of his genius when he became 
Governor of India in December 1509. 

Nor was he at once invested with sovereign power. The 
Marshal of Portugal ranked above him in India proper ; 
Duarte de Lemos had been sent to cruise off Arabia, with an 
independent roving commission ; Diogo Lopes de Sequeira 
was in supreme command at Malacca. But fortune removed 
these competitors one by one. 

The Marshal insisted on obeying King Manoel's orders 
to assail Calicut, though his forces were absurdly inadequate 
and Albuquerque besought him to await a better oppor- 
tunity. He vowed that he was ashamed to cross swords 
with a rabble of half-naked niggers, and that he would 
take the Samuri's palace with no weapon but a cane in his 
hand. The boast was so far fulfilled that the Portuguese 
were allowed to reach the palace, which they stormed and 
sacked. Then the Samuri's Nair soldiers closed in on the 
disorganized looters ; the Marshal and many of his men 
were shot down in a narrow passage through which they 
strove to escape. Albuquerque, whose foresight in leaving 
a strong rearguard to hold the landing-place alone enabled 
the survivors to reach their ships, was himself carried out 
of action, severely wounded. But he was now supreme 

^ i.e. the fact that he was only a younger son. 

^ Bibliotheca Lusitana, vol. i. p. 22, quoted in Commentaries, vol. i. 
pp. xxxvii-xxxviii. 



in India proper, and could add the Marshal's fleet U 
his own. 

The defeat at Calicut took place on the 3rd of January 1510 
Before the month ended Sequeira had sailed for Europe 
after a narrow escape from disaster. The inhabitants o 
Malacca, being mostly Muhammadans, and so haviu; 
cause to hate the Portuguese, conspired to rise at a givei 
signal and to massacre their unwelcome guests. According 
to one version of the affair, a native woman swam out t( 
the ships to warn her Portuguese lover of the plot. Accord 
ing to another, Sequeira was seated on deck, busy with 
game of chess, when his pilot, the famous Magellan (Ferna^ 
Magalhaes) called his attention to a picturesque group q 
Malays who were watching the players. One of them ha( 
already unsheathed his kris ; another was explaining ii 
dumb show that the hour of vengeance had not ye 

Sequeira thus learned that the climate of Malacca was 
unwholesome for Portuguese admirals. Having completed 
the lading of his ships he steered for India, where he learned 
that Almeida had been succeeded by Albuquerque. This 
decided him to return to Europe. He had left behind ii^ 
Malacca an agent named Ruy de Araujo and a staff 
clerks, whose subsequent adventures were exciting bu 

Later in the year, Duarte de Lemos grew weary of th 
Arabian coast, where the weather was sultry and prize 
money scarce. He too shaped a course for Europe, leavin 
the chief part of his squadron to Albuquerque, who was no 
rid of all his rivals. 

The details of Albuquerque's policy will be discusse 
later. In this chapter and the next, which will deal main! 
with his mihtary achievements, it is only necessary 
point out the strategic and commercial motives underlyin 
his fourfold scheme for the conquest of Goa, Malacca 
Aden, and Ormuz. He desired to occupy Goa as a nava 
base and a colony ; Malacca, because it was the heac 
quarters of maritime commerce between the Far an 
Middle East ; Aden and Ormuz, because they commanded 


the entrance to the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. The 
possession of Goa meant for Portugal the final step from 
mere command of the sea to territorial empire in the Orient. 
The control of Malacca, Aden and Ormuz meant complete 
commercial ascendancy in the Indian Ocean and the Arabian 
Sea, so long as Portugal also maintained her naval supremacy 
in those waters and her monopoly of the Cape route to 

These were the objects which Albuquerque set himself 
to achieve, and his first undertaking was the seizure of Goa. 

Originally a Hindu seaport, Goa had been conquered by 
the Musalmans in 1469, and had become, after Calicut, 
their principal seaport in Western India. It was built upon 
the island of Tisvadi, a triangular territory sundered from 
the mainland by two navigable rivers — the Juari on the 
south and the Mandavi on the north. These are connected 
by a narrow creek and discharge their waters into the 
Arabian Sea. In 15 10 they afforded firm anchor-hold in 
fifteen fathoms, at all tides and seasons. They also con- 
stituted a formidable line of defence, for although the 
connecting creek could be forded at low tide, it had been 
stocked with crocodiles for the benefit of foemen and run- 
away slaves ; and under Hindu rule these guardians of 
the fort had been educated on a diet of criminals and militant 
missionaries of Islam. 

The ruler of Goa was Yusuf Adil Shah, King of Bijapur, 
whose career is one of the romances of Oriental history. 
According to Firishta, he was a son of the Ottoman Sultan 
Murad or Amurath II., famous as the antagonist of Scander- 
beg and Hunyadi Janos. When Murad died in 1451, an 
elder son succeeded, and hastened to secure his tenure by 
ordering his servants to strangle those of his kinsmen who 
stood too near the throne. Yusuf, however, was smuggled 
over the frontier into Persia, and there educated in the Shia 
creed. In his eighteenth year, impelled, as Firishta states, 
by a vision, he took ship for India, where he began his life 
of adventure as a warrior slave and ended it as a king. 

Early in 15 10 Albuquerque sailed from Cochin, with 
twenty ships of the line and some smaller craft, ostensibly 


bound for Ormuz. At Honawar he was reinforced by a 
flotilla of foists under Timoja, from whom he learned that 
the internal state of the city was favourable to his attempt. 
The Adil Shah was absent, and had entrusted Goa to a 
garrison of 200 Turks, whose violence and insolence had 
shaken the loyalty even of the Musalman townsfolk. 

About the middle of February the Portuguese fleet 
entered the Mandavi. The Hindus in Goa conveniently 
remembered that the conquest of the city by alien sea- 
rovers had been foretold by an inspired yogi. They re- 
mained passive, and the Muhammadans, having neither 
time nor heart to concert measures of defence, surrendered 
almost before an arrow had been fired. Seated on a gaily 
caparisoned charger, Albuquerque gave audience to eight 
of the leading citizens, who knelt before him and handed 
over the keys of Goa. Then, preceded by his chaplains 
bearing a gilt cross, he marched to the Adil Shah's palace, 
while the fickle Hindus acclaimed him as their deliverer 
from the yoke of Islam, and strewed filigree flowers of gold 
and silver in his path. 

Albuquerque's triumph was short lived. The Musalmans 
soon sighed for an orthodox tyrant, and bitterly resented 
the fate of a zealous kazt, who, having assassinated one of 
his flock to save him from a lapse into Christianity, had 
therefore, as Firishta expresses it, been compelled to " quaff 
the sherbet of martyrdom." 

In May the Adil Shah came to their rescue, with 60,000 
men. On a starless night of tropical rain, his troops forced 
the passage of the creek, and rushed the batteries which 
had been posted to command the ford. They were at once 
joined by the Musalman malcontents within the walls, 
and thus Albuquerque's position became untenable. After 
a week of desperate resistance, he gave orders for a massacre. 
The richest ' Moors ' were seized as hostages, the fairest 
women as wives for the soldiers ; a few children were 
reserved for baptism and slavery. The remainder were 
slaughtered without mercy to age or sex. Then, on the 
23rd of May, the Portuguese struggled back to their ships. 

The monsoon prevented Albuquerque from putting to 


sea, and he could do little but anchor his ships in the Mandavi, 
return the fire of the Adil Shah's batteries, in which his own 
lost guns had been mounted, and await a change of weather. 
As week followed week, his stores began to run short or to 
turn sour in the damp and brooding heat ; and his men, 
worn by fasting, fighting, and watching, were glad to eke 
out their meagre daily ration of four ounces of biscuit with 
rats and offal. The Adil Shah sent over a boatload of 
victuals under a flag of truce, declaring that he wished to 
conquer by force rather than famine, but Albuquerque 
suspected that his real aim was to discover how the Portu- 
guese fared ; and when the Musalman envoys came aboard, 
they were shown a mock banquet at which all the wine 
and other dehcacies reserved for the sick were displayed, 
while hungry sailors and soldiers crowded eagerly round 
the dishes they were forbidden to taste. 

If this anecdote is true, it must have been later, and 
in even direr straits, that Albuquerque bartered some of 
his hostages for food. 

He may well have rejoiced to be rid of an encumbrance 
which had nearly caused a mutiny. The captive women 
had been quartered in the flagship, to be beyond reach of 
enterprising gallants. There one Ruy Dias, who had 
swum over from his own vessel by night, was detected in 
an intrigue and sentenced to be hanged. So severe a 
verdict on a man of good family created an uproar. Excited 
captains rowed from ship to ship, shouting " murder,*' and 
one bold warrior gave Dias a reprieve by cutting through 
the hangman's rope. But Albuquerque was bound to 
maintain discipline, at a time when the banks of the river 
were lined with Portuguese renegades, who openly incited 
their former messmates to desert. " Here is my authority," 
he exclaimed, touching his scabbard, when the mutineers 
clamoured to know by what warrant he had acted. The 
ringleaders were put in irons and Dias duly hanged. 

At last, early in August, the turn of the monsoon enabled 
Albuquerque to steer seaward once more. Beaten but 
undiscouraged, he had already made up his mind to return 
as soon as he could organize a sufficient force. Near 


Anjadiva he sighted the advance guard of a fleet of fourteen 
vessels newly arrived from Portugal. Some were merchant- 
men, commissioned to load spices for the King, who would 
not allow them to be used for other business.^ The re- 
mainder, two squadrons bound respectively for Malacca 
and the Red Sea, were taken over by Albuquerque, despite 
the protests of their commanders, Diogo Mendes de Vas- 
concellos and Joao Serrao. By the 3rd of October, 
Albuquerque had mustered 28 ships and 1700 Portuguese 
soldiers, and at Honawar he was reinforced by a large 
body of Hindu troops provided by Timoja. This formidable 
expedition reached Goa on the 24th of November 1510. 

The King of Bijapur had just died,^ bequeathing his 
crown to an infant son, Ismail Adil Shah, whose army had 
been withdrawn from the coast ; and the island of Tisvadi 
was garrisoned by 8000 Persian and Ottoman mercenaries, 
under Ras ul-Khan. 

On St Catherine's Day, the 25th of November, Albuquerque 
disembarked his soldiers and led them against the arsenal 
— a stockaded enclosure between the Mandavi and the city 
walls, approached from Goa by a gate so narrow that a 
routed force could hardly escape in time to avoid destruction. 
After overcoming a stubborn resistance and breaking 
through the stockade, the besiegers penned up a large 
number of Ras ul-Khan's men in the enclosure, and cut them 
to pieces. Then, scaling the city walls, they planted their 
standards on the battlements, and charged down into the 
streets, shouting for Portugal and St Catherine. Hundreds 
of the Muhammadans were killed in battle or drowned in 
attempting to cross to the mainland, where Hindus and 
marauding hillmen from the Ghats rounded up the remain- 
ing fugitives.^ 

Albuquerque had watched the fight from a neighbouring 
hillock. He now descended to take part in a solemn service^ 

1 Cartas, p. 189. 

2 The Portuguese historians give an earlier date for his death ; but 01 
this point the authority of Firishta seems decisive. 

^Firishta (vol. iii. p. 34) and the Tahafut (p. 135) attribute the Por-j 
tuguese success to an act of treachery by Ras ul-Khan, but this is ver] 


of thanksgiving ; after which he commanded his men to 
sack the city and to complete the former massacre by 
slaying every Muhammadan left in it, sparing neither 
women nor children. Correa has described the three days 
of rapine and torture which followed.^ When the soldiers 
had sated their lust for vengeance, Albuquerque could rest 
assured that the Muhammadan citizens of Goa were no 
longer formidable. 

He determined to forestall any further attempt at re- 
capture by strengthening the battered ramparts of the city, 
adding towers to the gateways and rebuilding the citadel. 
He gave orders that a stone should be set conspicuously in 
the wall, inscribed with his own name and those of all the 
captains who had helped to take Goa. But as each hero 
clamoured for the first place on the list, Albuquerque bade 
the masons fix the stone face inwards, and engrave on it 
the text Lapidem quern reprohaverunt cBdificantes, " The 
stone which the builders rejected." ^ 

Meanwhile Diogo Mendes de, Vasconcellos had grown 
restive. He had lent his ships for the reconquest of Goa 
on the understanding that his own expedition to Malacca 
should be undertaken immediately afterwards, with assist- 
ance from the Indian navy. But as Albuquerque evidently 
intended to keep the borrowed vessels, Diogo Mendes 
absconded, purposing to return to Lisbon and lay his 
grievances before King Manoel. Albuquerque promptly 
gave chase and overhauled the fugitives, using his artillery 
to force a surrender. After two pilots had been hanged 
for desertion, Mendes and his runaway officers were shipped 
off home under arrest, although, as the commanders of an 
independent fleet, they were not legally subject to Albu- 
querque's jurisdiction. The Governor excused himself to 
the King by claiming that the retention of Mendes' ships 
could not safely be avoided.^ 

As Goa was now considered secure, Albuquerque made 

^Correa, vol. ii. pp. 154-155. 

2 The Commentaries (vol. iii. p. 137) differ from Barros {Dec. II. Bk V., 
chap. xi. p. 558) and Correa (vol. ii. p. 157) in stating that this incident 
took place at Malacca. 

2 Cartas, pp. 59-63. 


ready for a voyage to Malacca, and set sail on the 20th of 
April 151 1. Touching at Pedir and Pasai in Sumatra, he 
picked up some of the men left behind by Diogo Lopes de 
Sequeira. They and their chief Ruy de Araujo had been 
imprisoned by the Muhammadan Sultan of Malacca, who 
vainly endeavoured to convert them by torture to his own 
faith. Some of the survivors had been befriended by a 
Hindu named Ninachetty, through whose good offices they 
had escaped to Sumatra ; but the rest, with Araujo himself, 
remained in captivity. Albuquerque anchored off Malacca 
on the first of July and at once demanded their release, 
threatening reprisals if it were denied. He was encouraged 
in this attitude by a brave letter from Araujo, who warned 
him not to hesitate for fear of what might befall the Christian 
prisoners, but to act forthwith. 

The most vulnerable part of Malacca was its water- 
frontage. A tract of malarial swamp and tiger-haunted 
jungle stretched far inland behind the town, which lay 
outspread along the low sea-shore. Its houses, timber- 
built and thatched with palm-fronds, were encircled by 
roomy compounds and set widely apart in streets as broad 
as the squares of a European city, so as to minimize the 
danger from fire. Goats and cattle browsed in the inter- 
spaces, often under the shade of date or coco-nut groves, 
which gave Malacca a rural appearance in odd contrast 
with the mercantile activity of its quays and bazaars. 
It resembled a vast village given up to a perennial 

The vessels in port came from many nations : there were 
foists, galleys and almadias, Malay praus, Chinese junks, 
Mopla dhows from Malabar ; and among the business 
quarters this diversity of rig and build had its counterpart 
in a like diversity of race and language. The bulk of the 
native inhabitants were Muhammadan Malays, but large 
foreign colonies had also been established — Chinese, Javanese, 
Gujaratis, Bengalis — each domiciled in a separate purlieu 
under its own headman. Other aliens were the Burmans 
from Pegu and Chittagong, the Ceylon cinnamon-dealers 
and the Japanese from the Riu-Kiu archipelago. A seaport 

,• ./' o '«. ^ • '•»'" •'*» » "' ' »'''» 



so frequented could not but possess a trade of immense 
volume and variety. Was not Malacca the central market 
of Ptolemy's Aurea Chersonesus, perhaps even the more 
ancient Ophir of Hiram and Solomon ? ^ 

As the Sultan refused to surrender his captives unless a 
treaty of peace were previously signed, Albuquerque sent 
boats to fire the waterside houses and the Muhammadan 
vessels in port. This vigorous action so far succeeded that 
Araujo and his comrades were at once liberated, and Albu- 
querque was emboldened to press for a grant of land, on 
which he might build a fortified factory. The Sultan, 
however, was naturally unwilHng to see a Portuguese 
stronghold established in his own capital, and contrived 
to prolong the negotiations for three weeks. Albuquerque 
then resolved to force an immediate issue. 

A navigable waterway bisected the town and carried 
the drainage from the marshes away to sea. It was spanned 
by a single bridge, upon which Albuquerque was advised 
by Ruy de Araujo to concentrate his attack. He had only 
600 Portuguese troops, with a small reserve of native 
auxiliaries and slaves, while Malacca was strongly held by 
30,000 fighting-men who possessed some artillery. Never- 
theless, on the 25th of July 15 11 the Portuguese stormed 
the bridge, and held it for some hours, until they were 
compelled to retreat by volleys of poisoned darts and arrows. 
During the next few days Albuquerque secured the co- 
operation of some Chinese traders, and entered into negotia- 
tions with Utemuta Raja, the headman of the Javanese 
settlers, who thenceforward took no part in the struggle 
until the end, when they joined the invaders. This was 
an important gain, for the Javanese were noted warriors, 
expert in handling kris and blowpipe. 

On the 8th of August the bridge was retaken, but on this 
occasion the Portuguese had brought, in a hired junk, the 
materials for rigging up a temporary shelter against the 
hail of poisoned missiles. This was formed by stretching 

1 For the identification of Malacca with Ophir and of Galle in Ceylon 
with Tarshish, see Ceylon, vol. ii. pp. 100-103. The case here made out 
seems a strong one. For a rival theory, see above, p. 46. 


sheets of canvas across a framework of scaffolding fixed 
upright in barrels of earth. It proved quite effective, 
enabling the Portuguese to establish themselves on the 
bridge, where they could move on interior lines without 
fear of having their communications cut, so long as their 
boats kept the waterway open. Step by step they forced 
their way inward, until, after nine nights of bombardment 
and as many days of street lighting — in which the sultan's 
elephant-corps played a part more conspicuous than useful 
— Malacca had fallen and its ruler had fled. 

Albuquerque had at once set to work to build a fort and 
a factory. He expelled all the Malay inhabitants, appointed 
Ninachetty headman of the Hindus, and arranged for all 
the other communities to live as before, except that a 
Portuguese Captain took the place of the Malay Sultan 
as representative of sovereignty. Utemuta Raja desired 
to rule over the Javanese ; and as his aid had been of the 
utmost value, his request might have been granted, had not 
Ruy de Araujo and the other liberated captives accused 
him of having instigated the plot against Sequeira in 1509, 
and of intending to grasp the supreme authority in Malacca 
after Albuquerque's departure. How far these charges were 
proven it is impossible to ascertain ; but when Utemuta 
Raja, his son, son-in-law, and grandson were arrested and 
tried before the Auditor (Ouvidor) of Portuguese India, 
all were found guilty and executed. 

Having arranged for the government of his new de- 
pendency, Albuquerque returned to India, reaching Cochin 
in February 1512. Here he learned that the armies of 
Ismail Adil Shah were encamped before the walls of Goa. 
After the outbreak of hostilities, the Shah's Turkish general, 
Fulad Khan, had been ordered to resign his command in 
favour of Albuquerque's former antagonist, Ras ul-Khan, 
but had shown no eagerness to obey. Thereupon Ras ul- 
Khan calmly appealed to the Portuguese Captain of Goa 
for assistance in enforcing his claims, and the brilliant 
audacity of this request was justified in the issue ; for with 
the aid of that power which he was commissioned to destroy, 
Ras ul-Khan made himself master of the Bijapur forces. 


He then turned upon the allies he had duped, and demanded 
the surrender of Goa in Ismail's name.^ 

The siege was far advanced when Albuquerque's fleet 
arrived, on the 8th of November 1512. A strong fort had 
been built by the Muhammadans at Benasterim, to protect 
the ford across the connecting creek, and piles had been 
driven into the mud on each side of the crossing, so as to 
form submerged stockades, serving much the same purpose 
as the booms used in modern harbour-defence. Seeing 
that the Benasterim fort guarded the only line of retreat 
which his superior naval strength left open to the enemy, 
Albuquerque determined to seize it at all hazards. Leaving 
in Goa every man except those required to navigate his 
ships and serve the guns, he sailed up the river and anchored 
just within range of the fort. As his men grew seasoned 
to working under an incessant cannonade, he gradually 
manoeuvred his ships closer and closer to the walls. One 
vessel caught fire and was abandoned until Albuquerque 
boarded her and, standing alone on deck, shamed the crew 
back to duty. After eight days of bombardment, the 
ships bristled with arrows from maintop to waterline, and 
were so riddled with stone shot that it was necessary to shore 
them up with timber staddles lest they should sink. But 
the guns of the fort were now silent, and the pile-stockades 
had been grappled and wrenched away. Meanwhile a 
sortie by the reinforced garrison of Goa drove the besiegers 
back into the fort, and although an attempt to carry the 
walls by escalade was repulsed with heavy loss, the Musal- 
mans were now entrapped between Albuquerque's land 
and sea forces. ^ 

As it would have been dangerous to weaken the Portu- 
guese army by a fight to a finish, the beaten remnant of 
Ras ul-Khan's men was permitted to escape across the 
ford. But Albuquerque first required the surrender of 
certain Portuguese deserters, promising to spare their 
lives. The letter of this promise was not violated, but 

^ Some comments by Albuquerque will be found in Cartas, pp. 42-43. 
^ Albuquerque's detailed account of the operations at Benasterim is 
of great interest : Cartas, pp. 100-116. 


the noses, ears, right hands, and left thumbs of the rene- 
gades were cut off, and all their hair plucked out, in order, 
as Albuquerque wrote to King Manoel, that others might 
" take warning when they remembered the treason and 
evil wrought by these men." ^ 

^ Cartas, p. ii6. 



ALBUQUERQUE'S work was half done, now that 
Portugal was supreme in Goa and Malacca. It 
remained for him to extend that supremacy to the 
Straits of Bab el-Mandeb and the Persian Gulf. He sailed 
for Aden in February 15 13, taking 1700 Portuguese and 
1000 native troops in 24 ships. 

On the 25th of March, the lofty crag of Aden came in 
view — a mass of sunburnt lava, connected with the main- 
land only by a narrow strip of sand. The eastern face of 
the crag was cloven from top to bottom by a deep fissure, 
probably the crater of an extinct volcano, which enclosed 
the city and its haven. For a fortress the site was nearly 
perfect ; its only natural disadvantages, the torrid chmate, 
barren soil and scarcity of water, had been mitigated by 
the construction of a splendid system of reservoirs. As 
the Portuguese came nearer, they saw the city girt by a 
high wall, which abutted on the beach. In the background, 
the rim of the crater rose in a series of jagged peaks, each 
surmounted by a tower. 

A brief parley showed that Mir Amrjan, the Governor, 
was unprepared to surrender, and Albuquerque determined 
to attack on the following day. His men passed the night 
in making their wills, and at sunrise, after they had 
confessed and received absolution, they launched their 
boats, taking a supply of scaUng-ladders which had been 
specially constructed to bear four, and in some cases six 
men abreast. The harbour proved so shallow that it was 
necessary to wade ashore, and on landing, the matchlock- 
men found their powder soaked. As their comrades had 
left their spears behind, dreading the encumbrance of 



weapons so unwieldy in an escalade, the whole force was 
dangerously underarmed. 

Albuquerque's nephew D. Garcia de Noronha was directed 
to assail a gateway on the right, while two other storming- 
parties, under Joao Fidalgo and Albuquerque himself, 
tried at different points to scale the wall which fronted the 
beach. It had been prophesied by a Musalnxan wali that 
Aden would be captured through the gateway on the right, 
which had therefore been bricked up. Here, however, 
Noronha's men planted their scaling-ladders. A soldier 
named Garcia de Sousa and his mulatto servant were the 
first to set foot on the battlements, shouting " Victory, 
victory ! Portugal ! Portugal ! " Joao Fidalgo's detach- 
ment also reached the top of the wall, and Albuquerque's 
men, finding their own ladders too short, rushed over to 
join them. This led to disaster, for the ladders gave way 
beneath masses of men in armour, all struggHng to be in 
front. By Albuquerque's orders, an attempt was made 
to prop the ladders up with halberds, but this device only 
caused further casualties, as the men who fell either were 
impaled, or crushed the halberdiers standing at the foot 
of the wall. 

D. Garcia de Noronha forced open an embrasure, and a 
body of soldiers rushed in headlong ; but all were repulsed 
or killed by masses of flaming straw. Even to retreat was 
now hazardous, but many were glad to jump from the 
wall at the cost of broken bones, while others slid down an 
improvised rope-ladder. Garcia de Sousa and his mulatto 
comrade were left alone in a turret, where no reinforcement 
could reach them. Albuquerque appealed to them to seek 
safety as he and his iidalgos had done, but Garcia de Sousa 
merely turned to the mulatto and said ** Save yourself. I 
shall die here. God would never have it that I should 
go down except by the same way I came up. Take this 
buckler to the King, to show how I met my end here in his 
service." Then he turned to finish his last fight, still 
seconded by the mulatto, who refused to save himself until 
his master had fallen with an arrow through his brain. 

The Portuguese dropped back in disorder to their boats ; 

» » » 5* ! V 

< < 


and although an outl3dng fort was taken while a council 
of war was discussing whether it should be attacked, they 
had no reason for lingering at Aden. The fleet made 
Kamaran Island without misadventure, and proceeded 
towards Jidda ; but calms and unfavourable winds com- 
pelled it to put back again. To reach India so late in the 
season was impossible ; so the ships were careened and 
overhauled. There was nothing on Kamaran Island except 
a few farms and fishermen's huts ; and as the Portuguese 
stayed from mid-May to mid- July, they were overtaken 
by famine. Even the roots of palm-trees were grubbed 
up for food, and a diet consisting mainly of shellfish, 
combined with want of fresh water and hard work in the 
full fervour of a Red Sea summer, soon thinned the ranks. 
When the ships headed for India once more, on the 15th 
of July, 500 Portuguese and nearly all the native auxiliaries 
had succumbed. Though valuable information had been 
acquired, and many captured fishermen had been mutilated 
for the greater glory of Christendom in general and 
Portugal in particular, Aden was still inviolate, Jidda un- 
approached, the Red Sea open. 

From September 1513 to February 1515 Albuquerque 
remained in India, remodelling the administration and 
setting in order the various forts and factories on the Malabar 
coast.i But at the end of this period lack of funds sent 
him forth on an enterprise which he had long wished to 
undertake, the capture of Ormuz. He sailed on the 21st 
of February 1515, with 27 ships and 3000 men, of whom 
1500 were Portuguese and 600 Malabar archers. 

Ormuz, which commanded the entrance to the Persian 
Gulf, was built on a triangular plain, forming the northern 
half of the island of Jerun. To the south rose a tumultuous 
range of hills, composed partly of rock-salt and sulphur, 
fantastic in outline, vivid in colour, and topped by white 
peaks which glittered like snow mountains in the sun. 

The opulence of the city was renowned in all the East. 

^ It was during this time that the Samuri permitted the Portuguese 
to build a fort in Calicut : a striking testimony to the fear inspired by 


Abd ur-Razzak,i envoy from Shah Rukh to the Sultan of 
Vijayanagar, declares that even the distant states of China, 
Pegu and Siam sent their wares to Ormuz for distribution ; 
and the Russian traveller Athanasius Nikitin ^ calls the 
city " a vast emporium of all the world." In Albuquerque's 
day an Arabic proverb said : ** The earth is a ring, and 
Ormuz the jewel set in it." Swarthy Egyptians and 
Persians haggled in its bazaars with fur-dealers from the 
steppes of Muscovy, with Arab horse-copers, silk-vendors 
from Bagdad and slant-eyed Mongols from Central Asia. 
The export trade in horses alone brought in an almost 
fabulous sum, as the Indian demand for cavalry-mounts 
could never be met in fuU.^ 

Albuquerque reached Ormuz in March 15 15 and found 
it a hotbed of dynastic intrigue. Saif ud-Din, the former 
King, had been poisoned by a powerful Wazir, Rais Nur 
ud-Din, who followed up this diplomatic triumph by giving 
the royal title to Saif ud-Din's brother Turan ^ vShah. Nur 
ud-Din had been the actual ruler of Ormuz until, growing 
old and gouty, he invited his own nephew Rais Ahmad to 
share in the toils and profits of government. Rais Ahmad 
showed his gratitude by promptly dismissing his uncle 
from office and placing him under arrest. He enjoyed the 
confidence of Ismail Shah of Persia, one of the strongest 
of Oriental sovereigns, whose ambassador, Ibrahim Beg, 
was in Ormuz when Albuquerque arrived. To secure 
Persian support, the King had been persuaded to accept 
what the Commentaries call Ismail's " cap and prayer," 
i.e. Persian suzerainty and the Shia creed. 

The only other personages with whom it might have 
been necessary for Albuquerque to reckon were the '* fifteen 
blind kings," princes of the blood-royal, who had paid the 

^ R. H. Major, India in the Fifteenth Century, London, Hakluyt Society, 
1857, pp. 5-6 (of Abd ur-Razzak's narrative). 

^ Op. cit. p. 19 (of Nikitin' s narrative). 

'^Cartas, pp. 374-375- 

*This appears to be the correct transliteration of the name given by 
Correa (vol. ii. p. 420) as Turuxa, by the Commentaries (vol. iv. p. 109) as 
Terunxa, and by Couto {Dec. V. Bk. IX. chap, x.) as Torunxa. Correa 
gives his age as twenty-two. Commentaries as eighteen. 


penalty for their too exalted birth. Lest they should one 
day aspire to the throne, a bronze bowl had been made 
red-hot and held before their eyes until all power of sight 
was shrivelled away. 

On learning that a Portuguese fleet was near, Rais Ahmad 
had released his uncle the Wazir. Nur ud-Din had every- 
thing to gain and Turan Shah little to lose by a change of 
masters. Each saw in Albuquerque a possible deliverer, 
and Albuquerque was quite ready to hsten to their 

The one man to be feared in Ormuz was Rais Ahmad. 
It was even hinted that he intended to organize a revolt 
and to murder Albuquerque ; but this rumour may have 
been coined to justify the Portuguese for a breach of faith. 
At all events, Albuquerque invited Rais Ahmad to be 
present, on the i8th of April, at a conference to which the 
King and the Wazir were also bidden. When the day 
came every Portuguese wore a dagger under his doublet, 
although it had been prearranged that they should go 
unarmed. At the appointed hour, Rais Ahmad strode in 
— a tall, black-bearded Persian of soldierly bearing, mag- 
nificent in his uniform and armed with mace and sword. 
The youthful King and his decrepit minister followed, 
cringing and afraid. Hardly had Rais Ahmad crossed 
the threshold, when the interpreter, Alexandre de Athayde, 
gripped him by the elbow, and hurried him forward into 
the audience-chamber, where Albuquerque at once began 
to reproach him for wearing weapons. Rais Ahmad was 
returning a dignified answer, when he suddenly perceived 
his danger and grasped at the velvet tag of Albuquerque's 
coat, intending either to sell his own hfe dear or to appeal 
for mercy. But before the doomed man had time to speak, 
the Governor turned to his own cousin Pedro de Albuquerque, 
with the laconic order, " Kill him " ; and immediately 
the bystanders, among whom was the historian Correa, 
leapt upon their victim and hacked him to death, slashing 
one another's hands in their zeal. A moment later they 
were stripping the rags of blood-stained finery from the 
corpse : Correa's share was a scarf embroidered with 


gold, for which he afterwards obtained twenty xerafins 
(£6, 19s. 2d.). Turan Shah, who had witnessed the assassina- 
tion, screamed out that they were all being murdered ; but 
Athayde barred the street-door to prevent Rais Ahmad's 
partisans from essaying a rescue, and Albuquerque came 
blandly forward to congratulate the terrified monarch on 
the death of a traitor. 

Organized resistance was no longer possible, and although 
the King was permitted to retain all the outward pomp of 
royalty, the murder of Rais Ahmad had riveted Portuguese 
supremacy upon Ormuz. Turan Shah could only obey 
the Turkish maxim, " Kiss the hand which you dare not 
cut off " ; and whenever he met Albuquerque on business 
of state the pair did actually kiss one another, with an 
edif3dng show of affection. 

On the 3rd of May 1515, Albuquerque laid the foundation- 
stone of a Portuguese fort ; and until November all hands 
were kept busy, fidalgos and galley-slaves toiling shoulder 
to shoulder with hod and trowel. Many died of fever and 
hard labour under the blinding summer sky,^ and at last 
Albuquerque himself was laid low by dysentery. Always 
a strong man, he had never taken a week's rest during the 
six years of his governorship ; but the strain had at last 
broken his health. Believing himself to be doomed, he 
bade his comrades farewell, and on the 8th of November 
set sail, hoping to reach India before he died. His ambition 
was still unfulfilled, for he had intended to capture Aden 
and afterwards, returning home to Portugal, to '* lean 
awhile on the handle of the hoe." ^ 

In the Arabian Sea, his ship overhauled a dhow bearing 
dispatches from India. When these were opened, Albu- 
querque learned that he was to be superseded by one 
Lopo Soares de Albergaria, and that his old rival Diogo 

^ So impressed was Abd ur-Razzak by the terrific heat of this region 
that he improvised a poem on the subject : the concluding lines are — 

" In the plains the chase became a matter of perfect ease. 
For the desert was filled with roasted gazelles." 

— India in the Fifteenth Century, p. lo. 
* Commentaries, vol. iv. p. 208. 




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■%\V'A-^>-- --h?^ i\v i-.iM V .V t) -^ ^~; - lys 




Mendes had been appointed Captain of Cochin. At this 

" He lifted up his hands, and gave thanks to Our Lord, and cried : 
* In bad repute with men because of the King, and in bad repute 
with the King because of the men. It were well that I were gone.' " ^ 

Soon afterwards he dictated a last letter to King Manoel : — 

" Sire, I do not write to your Highness with my own hand, because 
when I do so I tremble greatly, which presages death. Here, Sire, 
I leave this son of mine ^ to perpetuate my memory ; and to him I 
bequeath all my estate, which is little enough ; but I also bequeath 
him the obligation due to me for all my services, which is very great. 
As for the affairs of India, they will speak for me and for him. I leave 
India with the principal heads fallen into your power; everything 
is settled except that it were well to lock the door of the Straits. 
And so I have done what your Highness charged me. Sire, I advise 
you always, if you would have India secure, to continue making it pay 
its own expenses.^ I pray your Highness, as my reward, that you will 
remember all this, and make my son a nobleman, and pay him in 
full for my services. I put all my trust in the hands of your Highness 
and of your lady the Queen, to whom I commend myself, in the hope 
that you will prosper my affairs ; since I die serving you, and for this 
deserve to be recompensed. As for my pensions, which I have almost 
finished earning, as your Highness knows, I kiss your hands for them 
on my son's behalf. Written at sea on the sixth day of December 15 15. 

" {In Albuquerque^ s handwriting) Done by your Highness' servant, 

" A. d'Alboquerque." 

Throughout the voyage from Ormuz, Albuquerque had 
longed to see Goa once more, and as his ship crossed the 
bar of the Mandavi he rose with a great effort, and stood 
propped against the doorway of his cabin, to gaze for the 
last time on the city. By his own desire, he was robed 
as a commander of the Order of Santiago, with a velvet 
cap and stole, spurs on his boots and a sword in his girdle. 
About an hour before daybreak, on Sunday the i6th of 
December, he died while the ship was coming to anchor. 

As the sun rose over the Western Ghats, a multitude of 

^ Commentaries, vol. iv. p. 195. 

2 Braz, afterwards D. Affonso de Albuquerque. See Appendix A, Special 
Bibliography, " Albuquerque." 

* This is the sense of the original irdes uos iirando de despesas. 



boats put off to welcome him, and when the people learned 
that he was dead, " so great was the crjdng and weeping 
that it seemed as though the very river of Goa were being 
poured out." ^ The body was placed on a bier covered with 
a pall and a cushion of black velvet, and was borne to the 
church of Nossa Senhora da Serra, which Albuquerque 
himself had founded. Even the Musalmans shared in the 
common grief, and as for the Hindus — 

" When they beheld his body stretched upon the bier, his long 
beard reaching down to his waist^ and his eyes half open, they declared, 
after their heathen notions, that it could not be that he was dead, but 
that God had need of him for some war, and had therefore sent for 
him." 1 

He was buried in the church ; and thither, for many 
years afterwards, the poor and oppressed came to pray at 
his tomb, bringing sweet-scented flowers and oil for his lamp. 
Even King Manoel, who had slighted him in life, honoured 
him in death, and would never permit his bones to be 
removed to Portugal, averring that India was safe while 
Albuquerque was there. 

^ Commentaries, vol. iv. p. 198. 



ALBUQUERQUE is described as a man of medium . 
stature, lean but ruddy, with a massive nose and 
a high forehead. His left arm was partly crippled 
by a wound, received at Calicut in 15 lo. When Goa was 
retaken by the Musalmans he vowed never to trim his 
beard until he had won the city back ; and it is possible 
that he kept his vow beyond the stipulated hour, as at his 
death his snow-white beard brushed his girdle. 

He was a visionary with a talent for finance ; a martinet, 
whose followers either hated or adored him ; a loyal Church- 
man, who refused to make Muhammadanism a crime ; a 
Portuguese Governor, who died poor. His temper was 
uncertain ; his laughter might in a moment blaze into 
anger ; but he was as ready to forgive an injury as to take 
vengeance. When his bitter opponent Joao da Nova 
died forsaken and a pauper, the Commentaries declare that 

" Affonso de Albuquerque forgot all the wrong that he had done 
towards himself, and only remembered that this man had been his 
comrade, and had aided him like a gallant knight in all the troubles 
connected with the conquest of the kingdom of Ormuz. And he 
ordered him to be buried at his own expense, with the usual display 
of torches, and himself accompanied the body to the grave, clad all 
in mourning." ^ 

Braz de Albuquerque, the Governor's natural son and 
biographer, is an unilluminating guide to his father's char- 
acter. In the Commentaries he tones down the irritable 
genius into a fidalgo cast in the conventional mould, half 
courtier, half crusader. He puts orations which are obvi- 
ously unhistorical into his father's mouth, and bowdlerizes 
* Commentaries, vol. ii. p. 49. 



his correspondence. Amid the carnage at Goa he makes 
the Governor address Manoel de Lacerda, whose armour 
ran blood, in these terms : ''Sir Manoel de Lacerda, I 
declare to you that I am greatly envious of you, and so 
would Alexander the Great be, were he here ; for you look 
more gallant for an evening's rendezvous than the Emperor 

The Commentaries laud Albuquerque for the correctness 
of his Latinity and the elegance of his speech, declaring 
that he never used an oath more profane than " I abhor 
the life I live.** But the Cartas — Albuquerque's own 
words — give a truer picture of the fiery old autocrat, whose 
verdicts upon men and things were homely, lucid, pungent 
as proverbs. Such are his portraits of the panic-stricken 
crew, " for ever with the pumps in their hands and the 
Virgin Mary in their mouths " ; or of the aggressive Malik 
Aiyaz, " with his leg always Hfted for a kick." 

He understood the uses of pageantry as a means of 
impressing native minds with the might of Portugal, but 
his own habits were simple. All the chroniclers have 
described him as one who lived and worked among his 
men, taking his full share of toil and danger. They have 
portrayed him at Goa, helping with his own hands to 
plaster up the fortifications, or splashed to the helmet with 
the blood of a wounded comrade ; at Calicut, leading in 
the thickest of a hot rearguard action, until he was borne 
from the field with a broken head and an arrow through 
the left arm ; at Ormuz, leaning on his spear to eat his 
dinner of curry among his men. When he was at home 
in Goa, he kept no porter, but left his door wide open all 
day, except during his short afternoon siesta. Every 
morning he took his stick, put on a straw hat, and rode off 
attended by four clerks with inkhorns and paper. As each 
item of business arose, it was noted by the clerks, who 
took down the Governor's orders and handed over the 
manuscript to be checked and signed. In this way lawsuits 
which might have dragged on for weeks, reports and 
memoranda which might have been pigeon-holed and 
forgotten, were disposed of without cost or delay. 

- ' ' i ^ 





The simplicity of his daily life throws into relief the 
magnitude of his schemes for conquest and commerce. 
His projects were conceived on a Napoleonic scale, and like 
Napoleon he dreamed of achievements never to be com- 
passed with the forces at his disposal. 

Such was his plan to shatter the power of Islam by 
ranging the Shia empire of Ismail Shah against the Suni 
Ottomans. He hoped to induce Prester John to divert 
the Nile into the Red Sea, and so to starve Egypt. To 
King Manoel he sketched the course of a campaign designed 
to ruin Turkey and redeem the Holy Sepulchre. Using 
Massawa as a base, and reinforced by a contingent of 
Abyssinian cavalry, he proposed to seize Alexandria and 
Suez, closing the main channel by which the Turks could 
still approach India. From Massawa, again, he would 
raid Jidda, dash inland across the desert and bum Mecca 
to the ground. 

" It is but a day's journey/' he wrote to the King in 1513, " and 
what resistance can be offered by the Memluk garrison of twenty 
troopers in Jidda, perhaps twenty -five in Mecca ? The rest of the 
inhabitants are peaceful hermits, of whom five hundred Portuguese, 
or at most a thousand, could make short work. It seems to me. 
Sire, so trifling an affair to carry through that I look on it as already 

Then, leaving Mecca a heap of smouldering ashes, they 
could press forward over the arid waste which stretched 
away northward — to Sinai, to Suez, to Jerusalem itself. 
There was nothing to bar their progress except naked, un- 
armed camel-drivers ^ — so it seemed to Albuquerque, 
ever wont to make light of difficulties and to underrate his 

But in his dreams he never forgot the necessities of the 
hour. He was a master of laborious detail, whose interests 
ranged from world-poHcy down to the cost of fowls in 
Cochin. His letters deal with the instruction of clerks, 
the best method of polishing arms or packing goods for a 
voyage, the right length for oars, the most suitable material 

* Cartas p. 282. Cf, 325 seg. and 395 seq. 


for clothing and sails, the grades and prices of pepper, the 
devices by which cargoes of wine were tapped aboard ship, 
the advantages of leather cuirasses in a tropical climate, 
and the demerits of steel armour. His presents to the King 
illustrate the same versatility of interest : they included 
an elephant and a rhinoceros ; specimens of the coinage 
struck in the Malacca mint ; a chart drawn by a clever 
Javanese pilot ; two Abyssinians, captured on the pilgri- 
mage to Jerusalem, and sent to Lisbon with an Arab in- 
terpreter ; a ruby from the Red Sea ; a Goanese gunsmith, 
who could fashion " as good matchlocks as any made in 
Bohemia," a Musalman from Aden, learned in the compound- 
ing of opium. King Manoel was advised to make his 
fortune by cultivating poppies at home and in the Azores, 
and exporting the product to the East ; " for," said Albu- 
querque, " the people of India are lost without opium 
to eat." 1 

[ : This many-sided activity of mind was reflected in Albu- 
querque's career as a statesman. He must be studied not 
merely as conqueror and empire-builder, but as financier, 
diplomatist, administrator. 

Colonial Policy. — Before he assumed office, the Portuguese 
had not annexed a foot of Indian soil. Albuquerque 
definitely committed them to a policy of territorial ex- 
pansion in the East. The merchant princes of many a 
maritime state, from Tyre to Venice, had been led, in 
pursuit of sea-power and commerce, first to the establish- 
ment of factories for the exchange of goods ashore, and 
afterwards to the occupation of seaports and the foundation 
of colonies. In following these examples, Albuquerque 
did not reverse the aims of Almeida, but enlarged and 
fulfilled them. No man better understood that sea-power 
and commerce were the chief interests of Portugal in the 
East ; but he was the first to realise that an armada sent 
out from Lisbon could not hope to maintain those interests, 
nor to control the trade-routes of the Indian Ocean from a 
base 3000 miles away. 

The Portuguese were encompassed by enemies, actual or 

^ Cartas, p. 174. 


potential. Every orthodox Hindu was bound to regard 
them as unclean freebooters of no caste : every Muham- 
madan, as infidels and — worse still — as rival traders. But 
no Indian foe was so greatly to be dreaded as Turkey. 

" The Turks are powerful/' Albuquerque wrote, " they have much 
artillery, and know how to build ships like our own. They hate us, 
and long to destroy all we possess. They are well furnished with 
arquebusiers and bombardiers, with master-gunners as skilful as 
ours, naval architects who can rival our best work — smiths, carpenters, 
caulkers, as good as any we have." ^ 

Before meeting an antagonist so formidable it was 
necessary to secure a port where ships could be built, 
repaired and manned ; where the sick and wounded could 
be tended ; where stores of every kind could be replenished. 
For such services the fleets could not rely on the factories, 
because the very existence of the factories depended on 
the fleets. Security of trade was impossible as long as 
every European on Indian soil was a foreigner, subject to 
the caprice of some local ruler and in peril of torture or 
death from the moment when the sails of King Manoel's 
fleet vanished below the horizon. It was quite as im- 
possible for Portuguese diplomatists in India to command 
the respect which was accorded to the representatives of 
such states as Bijapur, Gujarat, Vijayanagar, kingdoms 
renowned from Java to the Red Sea for their opulence and 
armed strength. Portugal was far away ; the monarchs 
of India had heard rumours of its power, but they perceived 
no visible symbol of greatness save a squadron of weather- 
beaten ships ; and they might be pardoned if, even after 
the sea-fight at Diu, they mistook these for the cruisers of 
some pirate community, terrible in its daring and maritime 
science, but not overmuch to be dreaded on dry land, nor 
worthy the deference due to an equal. 

Albuquerque solved the whole problem, strategic, com- 
mercial and poHtical, so far as it could be solved, by the 
seizure of Goa, which gave to Portugal a naval base, an 

* Cartas, p. 412. The power of Egypt was already paralysed by internal 


emporium famous throughout India, and the nucleus of a 
colonial empire. In the hands of a wise ruler well served, 
Goa meant security, commerce, an assured status for 
Portugal among the nations of the Orient. The difference 
between this colony and one of the fortified factories else- 
where was akin to the difference between Hong-Kong and 
a British settlement in any of the Chinese treaty-ports. 

" In Cochin," Albuquerque told the King, " you cannot cut a stick 
without asking leave of the Raja. If one of our men refuses to pay- 
full market price in the bazaar, or touches a Musalman woman, the 
fort is besieged. In Cochin 500 extra men mean famine. There 
is no fish, no flesh, and fowls are dear. In Goa, beef, fish, bread and 
vegetables are plentiful, and an additional 2000 men are scarcely 
noticed ; in Goa there are gunsmiths, armourers, carpenters, ship- 
wrights, everything we require." ^ 

The clique of slanderers who strove to belittle every act 
of the Governor, and to thwart him at every turn, persuaded 
King Manoel that Goa was not worth the cost of occupation, 
and that Albuquerque only retained it to enhance his own 
reputation. The King wrote commanding him to submit 
the question of its abandonment to his council of captains, 
and Albuquerque obeyed ; but when the captains upheld 
his decision, he communicated his views to the King in 
plain language. '' I was astonished when I received your 
Highness' orders, and when I saw the documents on which 
those orders were based I was still more astonished that 
you did not put the whole parcel into the fire." ^ To his 
influential friend D. Martinho de Castello Branco he wrote : 
" The King trusts you and takes your advice ; bid him 
hold on to Goa until the Day of Judgment." 

To man his ships, forts and factories he encouraged the 
lower class Portuguese to marry Indian women. It was 
a practice less distasteful to them than to other peoples 
of Europe ; indeed they were already inured to the em- 
braces of Guinea and Gold Coast beauties. The mother of 
Albuquerque's own son was a negress ; and mulatto children 
did not always justify the Senegalese proverb — *' Allah 
made the coffee and Allah made the milk, but cafe au lait 

1 Cartas, p. 413. ^ Cartas, p. 260. 


is a brew of Shaitan." Centuries of slave-owning have not 
kindled among the Portuguese that fierce loathing of coloured 
races which makes intermarriage with them appear a crime : 
witness Brazil, where the inhabitants of Portuguese origin 
live in amity with their negro and half-caste fellow-citizens, 
and lynch law has always been an expression of political 
rather than of racial enthusiasm. 

If Correa ^ can be trusted, Albuquerque foresaw the 
gravest perils of his plan, and warned the King that all his 
Eurasian subjects between twelve and twenty-five years old 
ought to be educated in Europe. He began his experiment 
discreetly, by marrying off some transported criminals. 
Women of good class shunned this honour, some escaping 
by suicide, while others cut the throats of their children 
to save them from a preliminary baptism. Meanwhile the 
fidalgos asked, with pardonable asperity, what good thing 
could come of an alliance between a convict and a pariah. 
But time and the climate were on the side of the Governor, 
who soon began to provide husbands of a choicer brand. 
Captive Brahman and Muhammadan women were sum- 
marily baptized and wedded, and low-caste wives were 
discouraged, although they could not be altogether ex- 
cluded. White wives were luxuries beyond reach of all 
but the wealthiest ; for their own sakes, also, Portuguese 
women were kept at home. 

The married men were intended to become colonists 
instead of a mere garrison. They were persuaded to set 
up as handicraftsmen, retail traders, or farmers. Wherever 
the Portuguese established themselves on the shores of 
the Indian Ocean, special privileges were conferred on this 
class, which soon formed a distinct community, fiercely 
jealous for its rights. Minor municipal offices and other 
paid posts were reserved for the married men, and in 1518 
all the Crown estates at Goa, consisting of arable land 
and palm-groves, were divided among them. The women 
who had been hustled into Christianity and matrimony 
were often little better than slaves. More than once their 
resentment bred conspiracies against the Portuguese, of 

^ Correa, vol. ii. p. 375 . 


which their own white husbands were not wholly innocent ; 
and both parties to the marriage contract were demoralized 
by the atmosphere of slavery. The men whom Albuquerque 
had induced to become armourers, cobblers, or tavern- 
keepers chewed betel and lounged all day in native costume, 
while slaves attended to their forges, their lasts, or their 
tuns of country Uquor. Their sons and daughters went 
lower : the men drank the profits which their slaves acquired 
by robbery on land or sea ; the women dressed on the 
immoral earnings of their prettiest slave-girls. Had Albu- 
querque been followed by a succession of rulers like himself, 
these evils might have been stamped out before they 
matured ; as things were, the system of mixed marriages 
degraded its immediate victims and did little to staunch 
the terrible drain of men which was bleeding Portugal 
to death. 

Commerce. — Albuquerque's commercial policy was out- 
lined on a characteristically large scale. The slaves, ivory 
and gold which Portuguese merchants brought home from 
Africa were lucrative commodities, but not comparable 
with drugs and spices. The arrival of a consignment of 
camphor or cinnamon in any European port was the signal 
for a rush of wholesale buyers, eager to bid for these rare 
luxuries. Even in the Orient, spices were deemed a gift 
worthy to be offered by one prince to another ; in 1515 
Albuquerque's envoys to Ismail Shah took pepper, ginger, 
cloves, cinnamon, sugar and cardamoms as presents from 
their master. 

It should be noted that the chartered companies and 
associations of merchant adventurers which opened the 
trade-routes of the world to English commerce in the 
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries had few forerunners 
in Portugal. The sole right of sending merchant-ships 
to India was vested in the King, who could use the entire 
resources of the state to further his commercial interests. 
Licence to trade was only granted by way of pension and 
reward, or in return for a substantial fee, or else on a profit- 
sharing basis. The same system was applied to the natives 
of India wherever Albuquerque could enforce it. 


He was urged by the King to boycott Musalman traders, 
but pointed out that, although he favoured Hindus and 
native Christians, the Muhammadans alone possessed 
sufficient capital to do business on a large scale, and almost 
monopolized the carrying-trade. He went on to explain 
that the commercial interests of every community were 
bound inextricably together. Hindu Rajas would not 
lightly forego the dues paid by Musalman merchants, and 
even the Hindu capitalists of Gujarat invariably entrusted 
their cargo-fleets to Musalman crews, though Gujarat was 
the one part of north-western India (destes partes) in which 
the leading ship-owners did not profess Islam. ^ 

The fortified factories were designed to furnish cargo 
for the royal ships. Each factor was consul and shipping- 
agent in one ; but his responsibility for the sale and purchase 
of goods was shared with the captain of the fort, the com- 
missary and the treasurer. Albuquerque wished to keep 
all trade between Portugal and India a monopoly of the 
Crown, to make Cochin the headquarters of aU vessels 
plying to and from Europe, to make India the starting- 
point of ships intended to trade east of Cape Comorin, and 
to delegate the local carrying trade to Hcensed natives. 
He was ever anxious to discover new sources of profit — 
horses, opium, silk, pearls, coral, copper, mercury — and 
nothing irritated him more than the unenterprising ignorance 
of his factors. A Bartolomeu — a clerk from the office of 
Bartholomew the Florentine — would, says Albuquerque, 
outwit a dozen of these gentry, who had not brains enough 
to buy two pennyworth of bread in the bazaar. The truth 
was that the officials were untrained, and owed their position 
to family influence. Albuquerque founded classes for the 
instruction of Hindu clerks, and besought the King to send 
out schoolmasters, but he had neither time nor power 
to alter a system rooted in the social Hfe of Portugal. The 
factors continued to owe their appointments to favouritism ; 
as a class, they remained inefficient ; and under weaker 
Governors they added corruption to inefficiency. 

Foreign Policy. — Albuquerque's foreign policy was based 
1 CartaSi pp. 306-307. 


on his desire for peace and commerce. He fished adroitlj 
in the troubled waters of Oriental politics, taking ful 
advantage of the differences between Raja and Samuri 
Hindu and Musalman, Shia and Suni ; but he was fortunati 
in escaping conflict with any native power of the firs 
magnitude — the Bahmani Sultanate of the Deccan having 
fallen to pieces, while the Mughals were still afar. Even 
more fortunate for him were the resistance of Vijayanagar 
to the Musalmans of the Deccan, which drew off a host of 
potential enemies, and the wars between Turkey and 

The keystone of his foreign policy was, of course, a 
friendly neutrality towards Vijayanagar. Once Goa was 
secure he also tried to win the goodwill of his strongest 
Musalman neighbour, Ismail Adil Shah of Bijapur.^ He 
sent commercial missions to Java and the Moluccas, in 
order to reach the headquarters of the spice-trade. Com- 
mercial reasons also dictated his embassies to Gujarat and 
Pegu. The seamen of Gujarat voyaged far and wide, 
conveying the silk and porcelain of Canton or the cloves 
of Temate from Malacca, where they met the Portuguese, 
to Western India. Their home industries rivalled their 
commerce, and included the manufacture of delicate fabrics 
in cotton and muslin, ornaments and utensils wrought in 
ivory and metal, lacquered ware, and carved-work in black 
wood. Pegu was of equal importance ; every wanderer 
who strayed thither in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries 
testified to its almost fabulous wealth and its formidable 
military resources. Either of these powers might have 
actively resented the appearance of the Portuguese as 
trade-rivals ; Albuquerque conciliated both, and secured 
a share in their prosperity. In 15 ii he sent an embassy 
to Siam, which was hostile to Malacca and therefore likely 
to favour its captor. The envoys returned laden with rich 
presents for King Manoel, of which all save a ruby, a sword, 
and a gold cup, were lost at sea. 

The ideas which governed Albuquerque's relations with 
Persia have already been outlined. He regarded Ismail 
^ Who must not be confounded with Ismail, Shah of Persia. 


Shah as " a thunderbolt launched by the Almighty for the 
destruction of Islam " ; from the Pope he sought leave 
to furnish the Shah with cannon, and he besought the 
rulers of Christian states to aid Persia by an invasion of 
Ottoman territory. His first embassy to Persia was dis- 
patched in 1 5 10, but the envoy was poisoned at Ormuz. 
The second, in 1514, reached the Persian court, and pre- 
sented the Shah, at his own request, with a life-sized portrait 
of Albuquerque. The third is of great historical interest, 
because Albuquerque's letter to the Shah, his instructions 
to the ambassador, and a contemporary account of the 
mission are extant.^ 

In 1 5 14 war had broken out between Shah Ismail and the 
Ottoman Sultan Sehm I. ; its causes seem to have been 
mainly religious, and in the letter which heralded his advance 
the Sultan charged Ismail with blasphemy, heresy, perjury 
and evil-doing of other kinds. The Shah replied that he 
saw no necessity for war, and attributed the unconventional 
phrasing of the Sultan's letter to the invention of some 
scribe not fully recovered from an overdose of opium. 
After this interchange of amenities the Sultan continued 
his march. He routed the Persian cavalry at Khoi, near 
the western frontier of Azerbaijan, captured Tabriz, and 
annexed the outlying provinces of Kurdistan and Diabekir. 
The power of Shah Ismail was crippled by this blow, but 
Albuquerque still hoped to utilize it. In the summer of 
15 15, he dispatched Femao Gomes de Lemos as ambassador 
to the Persian court. '* I believe," Albuquerque wrote 
to the Shah, " that with the immense assistance which 
the King my master will render you at sea, you will with 
very little trouble become lord of the Sultan's kingdom, 
of his city of Cairo, and of all his land and sovereignty." 
The Shah does not seem to have shared this conviction. 
Although the envoys were laden with gifts, including six 
matchlocks and twenty quintals of sugar, they were coldly 
received ; for, as Galvao says, in Hakluyt's version — " This 
Xec or Shaugh Ismael went on hunting and fishing for 
trouts. And there be the fairest women in all the world. 
1 Cartas, pp. 387-394. 


And so Alexander the Great affirmed, when he called then 
the women with golden eies." ^ It was not, however 
these attractions, but the conduct of the Portuguese a 
Ormuz, which caused the mission to fail, and hastened thi 
return of the envoys. 

The fact that ambassadors from Gujarat, Pegu, Siam 
and Persia returned the visits paid by Albuquerque's 
representatives is witness to the new prestige acquired by 
the conquerors of Goa and Malacca. But the ambassador 
who most stirred the imagination of Europe was one Matheus, 
the first official representative of Prester John to reach 
Portuguese India. He was a Musalman from Cairo, who 
declared that he had been dispatched by the King of 
Abyssinia without previous notice, and had fallen among 
thieves on his voyage. He had contrived to retain his 
credentials, his wife and a chip of wood, said to be a fragment 
of the true Cross. The Portuguese suspected him of being 
an Egyptian spy, and some of them took advantage of the 
Governor's absence to maltreat the Abyssinian and his 
wife. Albuquerque proved to King Manoel that Matheus 
was in truth the accredited representative of the Prester, 
whom they had so long sought in alliance, but the mission 
bore no immediate fruit. 

Finance. — On the eve of his death Albuquerque counselled 
the King to make India pay for its own administration. 
He could not raise revenue by taxing commerce with 
Europe ; such an impost would lessen the direct drain 
upon the royal exchequer, but it would proportionately 
diminish the trading-profits by which the exchequer was 
filled. It was necessary to find some source of income 
which would not infringe the commercial monopoly of the 
Crown, and now that the costly pioneer work of conquest 
and settlement might be deemed at an end, Albuquerque 
proposed to balance his budgets with the tribute wrung 
from vassal states, the fees exacted for safe-conducts and 
licences to trade, the proceeds of Crown property near Goa, 
and local taxation. 

It is hard to estimate how far these receipts would have 

1 Galvao, p. 128. 


sufficed if Albuquerque's successors had been skilled 
financiers. In his time Portuguese India was largely 
dependent on prizes taken at sea and other spoils of war ; 
it afterwards became dependent on remittances from 
Lisbon, but the expenses thus incurred by the King were 
far outweighed by the enormous profits of the spice-trade. 

Administration. — The pressure of great affairs left Albu- 
querque no leisure to elaborate an administrative system 
in detail. One of his earliest endeavours to improve the 
machinery of government was an order for the registration 
of title-deeds. There had previously been no standard 
authority to which litigants could appeal in cases of dis- 
puted ownership. Like the British in later centuries, he 
deferred to native usage by uniting revenue and judicial 
functions in the same hands ; and he proposed to extend 
the term of official appointments from three years to eight. 
Brevity of tenure became one of the main sources of corrup- 
tion, when the number of candidates for office so far ex- 
ceeded the tale of vacant posts that few men could hope 
to be appointed twice in a lifetime. Salaries were low 
and perquisites many, so that every official was tempted 
to make the most of his three years, and to regard his 
appointment as a speculation rather than a career. 

Albuquerque's handling of native affairs was as states- 
manlike as the King permitted it to be. He set a precedent 
of incalculable importance by retaining intact the con- 
stitution and principal customs of the thirty village com- 
munities into which the island of Goa was divided, and 
from which its native name of Tisvadi was derived.^ When 
Goa was first captured Timoja was nominated as Thanadar 
— or chief constable, magistrate and tax-collector in one : 
but his harshness towards the Muhammadans compelled 
the Governor to divide his authority, and afterwards to 
transfer it to a Hindu named Malhar Rao. In the sixteenth 
century this employment of natives for the management of 
their own affairs was an innovation as bold as it was wise. 

^ A register of these customs was published in 1526 : an abstract will 
be found in Whiteway, pp. 215-220. The original is printed in Ar. Port. 
Or., Part v. 


It is noteworthy that British statesmanship has in 
several respects adhered to the main Unes of Albuquerque's 
policy. The servants of John Company followed the 
example he set by enUsting native soldiers, and appointing" 
natives to subordinate official posts. They found, as he 
did, that sea-power and commerce led, step by step, to the 
annexation of territory and the control of neighbouring 
states. They, too, realized the truth which Albuquerque 
vainly strove to instil into his own countrymen, that their 
authority in India must be founded upon respect for Indian 
usages and tolerance of Indian creeds. But it was not 
until 1829 that they summoned up courage to emulate his 
one conspicuous breach of this rule, by abolishing the rite 
of sati, or widow-burning. 

Those who would understand the magnitude of Albu- 
querque's achievement must take into account the obstacles 
which his own countrymen placed in his path. At first 
he was only one of three Governors ; not until Goa had fallen 
was he able to enforce his own will. Then he created a 
multitude of enemies by preferring public to private interests. 
A clique of disappointed fortune-hunters and placemen 
intrigued against him with surprising diligence. So notorious 
was their success that at last the Persian ambassador 
Ibrahim Beg invited Albuquerque to enter the service of 
Shah Ismail, where his worth would be better appreciated. 
The malcontents easily sowed suspicion in King Manoel's 
mind. Instead of thanks and support, the Governor 
received little from his sovereign except mistrust and 
opposition. His plans were countermanded and his advice 
neglected. Naval reinforcements were withheld until his 
worm-eaten vessels could hardly keep afloat ; his soldiers 
were equipped with lances too blunt to draw blood, and 
cuirasses which had made a banquet for rats. The King 
hinted that Goa was not worth taking and might well be 
abandoned. He loaded Albuquerque with absurd com- 
missions, probably designed to conciliate certain clerical 
bigots in Spain and Rome. The Governor was even in- 
structed to convert the Raja of Cochin to Christianity. He 
knew, of course, that success in this enterprise would stir 


up a mortal feud between the Raja and his Hindu subjects, 
but obeyed, and reported the result of his endeavours in 
language worthy of so expert a diplomatist. He said, in 
effect, that the Raja was deeply impressed with the import- 
ance of the King's proposal, and feeling that so momentous 
an issue deserved long and careful thought, had decided for 
the future to give it his most earnest consideration. ^ 

Albuquerque was fifty-six when he became Governor ; 
and most of his contemporaries had finished the active 
work of their lives. Until then his latent genius had lacked 
room to expand. " Portugal is a small country," he 
answered a little before his death, when his friends tried 
to console him for his supersession, with pictures of the 
honour and employment which awaited him at home. 
" Can Portugal offer me any task equal to one-sixth of what 
the Governor of India has to do ? " Placed in authority, 
he crov/ded the work of a strenuous lifetime into six years. 
With a small and ill-found fleet he maintained the nava4^ 
supremacy of Portugal and controlled the trade-routes' 
of the Indian Ocean. He drilled an insubordinate mob 
into an army, and used it to found a colonial empire. By 
sheer force of character he overawed those of his followers 
who were disaffected, and inspired the rest with his own 
heroic spirit of self-sacrifice. Among the early Portuguese 
rulers of India he alone had a real grasp of the financial 
and commercial side of government ; he alone tried to do 
justice to all subject races and creeds in time of peace, 
however ruthless he might be in war. He was at home 
in the labyrinth of Oriental diplomacy, and could penetrate 
the veil by which the subtle processes of Oriental thought 
are shrouded from Western eyes. Above all he had the 
gift of leadership : sovereignty seemed his birthright. 

It would be absurd to claim that the man who took 
advantage of a quibble to torture the prisoners surrendered 
at Goa, cut off the limbs of defenceless fishermen in the 
Red Sea and planned the murder of Rais Ahmad, was the 
type of a chivalrous hero. He belonged to a world still 
savage in spite of the prevalent zeal for knowledge and 

^ Cartas, pp. 367-369. 


beauty — still pagan under the forms of Christianity. Rare 
spirits here and there, men of the calibre of Las Casas and 
Osorio, might rise to a saner and kinder humanity ; but 
they were unrepresentative, and such cruelties as Albu- 
querque committed in war-time offended against no widely- 
accepted code of morals. The worst that can be said of 
him, from a historian's point of view, is that he never 
shook himself free from the inhumanity of his age. This 
apart, there is no more illustrious name than his in all the 
long and splendid annals of European rule in India. 



PAINTERS and chroniclers have drawn a lifehke but 
hardly an attractive portrait of King Manoel, the 
master whom Albuquerque served so well. An 
inscrutable, almost sullen face, lit by greenish eyes ; dark 
brown hair ; tall, meagre frame with every sinew toughened 
by exercise ; ape-like arms so long that, when he stood 
upright and let them hang, his fingers extended below his 
knees — ^it is the portrait of a man whose most salient char- 
acteristic was an iron strength of mind and body. 

His accession in 1495 was brought about by a series of 
accidents. In 1484 he witnessed the assassination of his 
elder brother, Ferdinand Duke of Vizeu, who was summoned 
to the palace on a charge of conspiracy and there stabbed 
to the heart by his cousin King John II. Manoel, who thus 
became heir-presumptive,^ was made Duke of Beja and 
Grand Master of the Knights of Christ, perhaps as a reward 
for his acquiescence in the murder. But he was stiU far 
from the throne, which would naturally pass to Prince 
Affonso, only legitimate son of the reigning monarch ; 
and his chance of succession was diminished when, in 1490, 
Prince Affonso married Isabella, eldest daughter of the 
CathoUc sovereigns, Ferdinand King of Aragon and Isabella 
Queen of Castile. 

This match was intended not only to secure the crown 
of Portugal for the direct descendants of John II., but 
also to fuse together all the kingdoms of the Iberian Penin- 
sula. Castile and Aragon had already been united by the 
marriage of the Catholic sovereigns, who were shortly to 

* Failing an heir in the direct line of primogeniture, he would inherit 
as the grandson of King Edward (1433-1438). 



bring all Spain beneath their rule by the conquest of Granada 
from the Moors. If an heir were bom to Prince Affonso 
and Princess Isabella, he would inherit Portugal as well as 
Spain, and the union of Iberia would come to pass without 
wounding the pride of either nation. 

The marriage was celebrated at Evora with unprecedented 
pomp, the wedding banquet being graced by the presence 
of two fat oxen with gilded horns and hooves. They had 
been roasted whole, but were nevertheless yoked in the 
most HfeUke manner to a gaily decorated waggon laden 
with similarly cooked and gilded carcases. A high-bom 
fidalgo posed as driver of the equipage, which was dragged 
round the banqueting hall on a wheeled platfomi, amid 
raptures of applause. After this " culinary idyll,** as 
Oliveira Martins calls it, the revels were prolonged far into 
the night : and for years men talked of the amazing pageant 
in which a mimic navy was towed by some invisible 
mechanism over a sea of painted canvas. The flagship 
had sails of white and rose taffeta, rigging of silk and gold, 
gilded anchors, a living crew and real bombards on board : 
never had such splendours been witnessed in Portugal. 

But the high hopes which had inspired the festival were 
soon disappointed, for in 149 1 Affonso was killed by a fall 
from his horse, and Isabella was left childless and dis- 
consolate. John 11. would gladly have bequeathed the 
kingdom to his own natural son D. Jorge, but law and 
popular sentiment opposed him, and when he died in 1495 
Manoel reigned in his stead. 

The new King adhered to the policy of Iberian union, 
which soon became the master-passion of his life. He was 
pla5dng for higher stakes than his predecessor, since the 
ruler of Spain and Portugal would also be lord over the 
Spanish dominions in America and the Portuguese empire 
in Asia and Africa. The first step towards the fulfilment 
of this ambition was taken when Manoel gained the consent 
of the Catholic sovereigns to his marriage with the widowec 
Princess Isabella. The match was by no means an affaii 
of the heart. Manoel can hardly have found the Princess 
attractive, for he was a man of the world and a sportsmanJ 




who loved hunting and sailing, tournaments, dances, 
horse-races and banquets ; while she, ever since the death 
of her husband, had led a life of conventual strictness, 
fasting and practising the severest forms of penance until, 
in Peter Martyr's phrase, she had become " drier than a 
withered stock " — sicco stipite stccior, — and had ruined her 
health as well as her comeliness. ^ 

The fanatical Princess only agreed to the marriage on 
condition that Portugal should first be purged of its Jewish 
inhabitants. The terms were accepted and thousands of 
innocent victims were exiled, forcibly baptized or murdered. ^ 
Manoel was no bigot, though he loved the music and cere- 
monial of Church festivals, and was devout in his observance 
of fasts and holy days. He employed Jewish physicians 
and astrologers ; he reprimanded Almeida for prohibiting 
the sale of the Hebrew scriptures at a large profit in Malabar ; 
and when anti- Jewish riots took place without his authority, 
he gave short shrift to the leaders of the agitation, albeit 
they wore the habit of St Dominic. But he was willing to 
pay almost any price for the Crown of Spain, and it is 
improbable that the sufferings of the Jews ever caused 
him a moment's regret, save in so far as his purse was 
affected by the ruin of a useful class of taxpayers. 

The marriage took place in 1497, and within a few months 
Isabella became sole heiress of the Catholic sovereigns, her 
younger brother, John, Prince of Castile, dying without 
issue. In April 1498, the King and Queen of Portugal 
journeyed to Toledo, to receive the homage of the 
realms they hoped one day to govern — Manoel as Prince- 
Consort, Isabella as Queen-Regnant. They were escorted 
under a golden umbrella to the cathedral, where they 
received the oaths of allegiance and swore to uphold the 
honour and welfare of Leon and Castile. In July they 
proceeded to Zaragoza, the capital of Aragon : but the 
national Cortes refused to acknowledge the sovereignty 
of a woman ; and in this contention the Aragonese nobles 

^ Petri Marty ris Opus Eptstolarum, Amsterdam and Paris, 1570, p. 97. 
The first edition was published at Alcala de Henares in 1530. 
* The persecution is described in chap. xxi. 


were supported by the representatives of Catalonia and 
Valencia. The deadlock lasted until the 14th of August, 
when Isabella gave birth to a Prince, who was christened 
Miguel and unanimously accepted as heir to all the thrones 
of Spain. 

Weakened by years of asceticism, the Queen died in 
childbirth, and Prince Miguel survived only for nineteen 
months. It now seemed as though all hopes of Iberian 
union must be abandoned ; but King Manoel's conjugal 
ideas were in advance of his age, and in 1500 he determined 
to wed one of the three surviving sisters of his deceased 
wife. The eldest, " Juana the Mad," was already wife to 
Philip the Fair of Austria ; the youngest, ** Catherine of 
Aragon," was in treaty for the hand of Arthur, Prince of 
Wales. Only Princess Mary was available, and Manoel 
promptly married her, having secured the needful dis- 
pensation from Pope Alexander VI. 

She bore him nine children, but unfortunately for his 
ambition Juana proved an equally successful wife ; and 
Charles, the eldest of Juana's six children, duly inherited 
the kingdoms of Spain, and in 1520 became Emperor, 
as Charles V. Meanwhile, the death of Queen Mary in 
15 18 left Manoel free to counter these successive blows of 
fortune by a further display of matrimonial activity. His 
choice fell upon Eleanor of Austria, niece to both his former 
wives, daughter of Juana the Mad, and sister of Charles V. 
He married her in 1519 ; but the match aroused Uttle 
enthusiasm. Not only was the bridegroom thirty years 
older than the bride, but he had previously sought her 
hand for his own eldest son. Prince John, aged seventeen. 
This change of purpose he strove to excuse by the plea 
that Prince John was feeble-minded : Eleanor, however, 
was soon undeceived, and there is reason to believe that she 
would have preferred the son to the father.^ 

As the unity of the Church tended to influence men's 

minds in favour of Iberian union, Manoel was eager to 

conciliate the Holy See. It was also necessary for him 

to checkmate the Venetian diplomats who threatened 

^ See below, chap. xxxv. 


Christendom with Ottoman vengeance and the destruction 
of the Holy Sepulchre in consequence of Portuguese inter- 
ference in the East. Although it was common knowledge 
that the Sultan would not wilhngly forego the fees paid by 
palmers and pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem, Manoel 
was doubtless anxious lest a sudden outbreak of Turcophobe 
fanaticism in Europe might imperil his own dominions in 
Africa and Asia. On four occasions he sent envoys to the 
Vatican to treat of these weighty affairs, and he even 
ventured to remonstrate with Alexander VI. on the simony 
and irreligion prevalent in Rome. But no event of his 
reign, after Vasco da Gama's voyage, created so much stir 
as the embassy despatched to Leo X. in 1514. The chief 
ambassador was Tristao da Cunha, a bluff sailor, who was 
far more at home on his quarterdeck than in an audience- 
chamber. Tristao had been chosen as Viceroy of India 
before Almeida, but a temporary blindness compelled him 
to resign, and ultimately to resume a more congenial career 
of war, seafaring and plunder. In Madagascar his men had 
won some notable triumphs over an enemy armed with 
sticks and bones, but he also crossed swords with worthier 
foemen. His name, in a somewhat corrupt form, is per- 
petuated in that of the remote archipelago which he dis- 
covered in the South Atlantic — Tristan d'Acunha. Leo 
X., ever a lover of novelties, would doubtless appreciate 
so breezy an ambassador. 

Tristao was the bearer of many gifts — gold and jewels 
emblematic of the riches of the Orient ; a panther, trained 
to hunt down game like a dog ; a Persian from Ormuz, 
who acted as its keeper. Strangest of all to European 
eyes was the Indian elephant which marched through 
gaping crowds to the castle of San Angelo, and there knelt 
before Leo X., symbolizing vividly but somewhat pre- 
maturely the homage of Asia to the Vicar of Christ. A 
rhinoceros from Gujarat had also been sent to Italy ; it 
was shipwrecked, but its body was washed ashore and 
stuffed. Albrecht Diirer etched its portrait, which is now 
preserved in the British Museum. The elephant, dying 
in 1516, was immortalized by Giovanni da Udine, a pupil 


of Raphael, and by the authors of the Epistolae Obscurorum 
Virorum, who make merry over its end. 

'* You have doubtless heard/' they write, " how the Pope had a 
mighty beast which was called Elephant : and it held him in great 
honour, and he dearly loved it. Now therefore you should know that 
this animal is dead. . . . 'Tis dead, and the Pope is very sorry : and 
they say that he would give a thousand ducats for the Elephant, 
because it was a marvellous beast, having a long snout in great 
abundance ; and when it saw the Pope it fell on its knees before him 
and said with a terrible voice Bar ! Bar I Bar / " ^ 

The letter adds that the physicians vainly strove to 
avert its death by a purge costing 500 gold pieces. 

Anxious though he was to associate the Church with 
his schemes, Manoel allowed no clerical interference with 
his own despotic rule. His predecessor John II. had with 
difficulty brought a pack of turbulent nobles to heel ; his 
three immediate successors were John III., a weak and 
immoral bigot, Sebastian, a gallant dreamer, and Henry, 
a dotard whose life had been spent in the service of the 
Inquisition. All three were puppets controlled by Jesuit 
or Dominican intriguers. But Manoel was such a prince 
as Machiavelli would have delighted to serve — a master of 
statecraft who permitted no scruple nor passion to thwart 
his policy. He was a characteristic product of the century 
which gave birth to Charles V., Francis I., Henry VIII., 
the century in which monarchs of genius borrowed the 
Turkish institution of a standing army, piled up huge 
fortunes by trade, and established personal government 
on a firmer basis than it had ever occupied in the Middle 
Ages. Fortune played into his hands, for it was in his 
reign that Gama reached India, Cabral discovered Brazil, 
Almeida secured command of the Indian Seas, Albuquerque 
founded an empire in Asia, and lesser men carried the flag 
of Portugal to the limits of the known world — from China 
to Greenland. 2 He used the wealth of the Indies to in- 

^ First published in 15 17, p. 216 of the Leipzig edition of 1827. 

' For some account of the Arctic voyages of Caspar and Miguel Corte 
Real, see H. Harrisse, Les Cortereals et leur Voyages, Paris, 1888 ; Ernesto 
do Canto, Os Corte Reaes, Ponta Delgada, 1883 ; W. T. Grenfell, Labrador ^ 
New York, 19 10. 


crease his own prestige by a liberal patronage of art, letters 
and the " noble science " of heraldry. Among twenty-six 
monasteries and two cathedrals which he founded were 
some of the most exquisite examples of the style of archi- 
tecture known by his name.^ In his reign the classical 
period of Portuguese painting began. Humanists, historians, 
poets celebrated the splendours of his court ; skilled crafts- 
men adorned his palaces with jewelled plate and costly 

Some of his enactments were wise and useful. He gave 
charters to many cities and attempted to codify the 
customary and statute law. He imported com in time of 
dearth, established a system of poor relief, built bridges, 
harbour- works, fortresses and reservoirs. One of the best 
known of these structures is the Tower of St Vincent at 
Belem, built to guard the landing place from which Vasco 
da Gama embarked for India. It is a characteristic example 
of the Manoeline style as applied to fortification. 

Where clemency or magnanimity might serve his purpose, 
Manoel knew how to assume these virtues to the best effect. 
Nor was he often ungenerous in rewarding good service. 
The charge that he slighted Gama, Pacheco and Magellan 
has been disproved, and even in the case of Albuquerque 
it should be remembered that Manoel had no means of 
sifting the slanders annually sent home by men who should 
have been trustworthy. 

It is easy to affirm in the light of present knowledge 
that Manoel was pursuing a phantom when he schemed 
to make Spain and Portugal one. To-day we can review 
the centuries of jealous * regionahsm * from which Spain 
has hardly yet emerged. We know how fiercely the 
Catalans, Aragonese and Basques clung to their local 
autonomy, and we can be sure that the claims of Portugal 
would have strengthened the centrifugal forces which still 
dominate Spanish politics. But King Manoel could no 
more have foreseen failure than he could have commanded 
success. If his dream had come true, a single Iberian nation, 

^ The main features of the so-called Manoeline style are described 
below, chap, xxxiii. 


loyal to itself and wielding the resources of the New World 
and the East, might for a time have secured the hegemony 
of Europe and modified the whole trend of western civiliza- 
tion in favour of Latin and Catholic ideas. It was only an 
accident, the death of Prince Miguel, which frustrated this 
establishment of an empire greater than Alexander's. 



THE death of Albuquerque was followed by nine 
years of misrule in Portuguese India. At last, in 
1524, King John III. decided to send out a man 
strong and honest enough to re-establish discipline, and 
his choice fell on the veteran D. Vasco da Gama, who was 
accordingly nominated as Viceroy. Gama had now reached 
his sixty-fifth year and since 1503 had lived the life of a 
territorial magnate, far from the sound of the sea ; but 
neither his maritime skill nor his alertness of mind and 
vigour of will had deserted him. Taking command of 
14 ships, he sailed from Lisbon on the 9th of April 1524, 
accompanied by two of his elder sons, D. Estevao and 
D. Paulo. He was not disposed to belittle his own importance 
as at once Count of Vidigueira, Admiral of the Indies and 
representative of the Crown. Correa gossips of the pomp 
with which the great discoverer chose to surround himself 
on board his flagship, the St. Catherine of Mt, Sinai. 

" The said Dom Vasco brought with him great state, and was 
served by men bearing silver maces, by a major-domo, and two pages 
with gold neck-chains, many equerries, and body servants, very well 
clothed and cared for ; he also brought rich vessels of silver, and rich 
tapestry of Flanders, and for the table at which he sate brocade 
cloths. ... He had a guard of two hundred men, with gilt pikes, 
clothed with his livery ; all the gentlemen and honourable persons 
ate with him." ^ 

Those who may have inferred from the Viceroy's own 

habits that he would be lenient to his subordinates were 

soon undeceived. D. Vasco da Gama held that the lower 

classes should be taught to keep to their proper station ; 

1 Stanley's CorrSa, pp. 380-381. 




including in the lower classes almost all persons who did 
not happen to be the Count of Vidigueira. Before his 
flotilla put to sea, he had posted at the foot of the masts 
an order that any woman detected on board after the 
ships had passed Belem would be publicly flogged. If 
she were married, her husband would be sent home in irons ; 
if a slave, she would be sold and the proceeds given to 
charity ; while any captain wilfully conceahng such a 
stowaway would be cashiered. The fleet arrived at Mozam- 
bique on the 14th of August, and halted for the flagship 
to repair a sprung yardarm. As it lay hove-to, three women 
stowaways were denounced to the Viceroy, and placed 
under arrest. 

The remainder of the voyage proved eventful. Before 
the coast of India was reached, three vessels had been 
wrecked, and the crew of a fourth had mutinied, kiUed 
their captain, and sailed away for a pirate cruise in the 
Straits of Bab el-Mandeb. On the evening of the 8th of 
September the rest of the armada lay becalmed near Dabul, 
when suddenly the ships began to pitch so violently that 
the most seasoned mariners could hardly keep their footing. 
Fearing to have run aground, they began to heave the lead, 
but found no bottom ; sails were struck and boats lowered, 
terrified soldiers and sailors prayed, shouted, discharged 
the artillery. In the midst of their panic D. Vasco bade 
them take courage, " for the sea trembles at us. . . . Do 
not be afraid," he added, " this is an earthquake." 

In Goa, the Viceroy amazed everyone, as a letter from 
the municipality to the King affirms, by refusing to accept 
any gift " either from Christian or Moor." ^ Instead, he 
at once set about the restoration of order and justice. 
The Captain of the fortress had been guilty of grave 
irregularities ; indeed the citizens had schemed to depose 
him and give his office to a certain Bishop described as 
D. Martinho,2 " but," says Correa, " the Bishop was virtuous 
and would not consent." D. Vasco deprived the errant 
Captain of his commission, and even compelled him to pay 

1 Stanley's Corria, p. 385 (translation) and Appendix, p. x. (text). 

2 Not Bishop of Goa, as that see was only created in 1538. 


his debts. Then the dour old martinet prepared to deal 
with minor offenders, remarking that those who deserved 
mercy would doubtless receive it — in the next world. 

The three unfortunate women who had been detected 
in his ships were sentenced to be flogged through the streets 
while the town-crier intoned 

" The Justice of the King our Lord ! It orders these women to be 
flogged because they had no fear of his justice, and crossed over to 
India despite his prohibition." 

This sentence not unnaturally caused a scandal. The 
Brothers of Mercy,i the Bishop, and all the fidalgos inter- 
ceded in vain ; charitable men offered to buy off the women 
by subscribing 3000 pardoes for the ransom of captives — 
a sum large enough to have touched the heart of most 
Viceroys. But even when the Franciscan friars came to 
pray for mercy and offered to take charge of the women, 
Gama denounced their procession as an attempt to stir up 
popular feeUng against himself, and refused to reconsider 
his verdict. He did, however, issue a general amnesty 
to all fugitives from justice whose offences had been com- 
mitted before his own arrival in India, provided the guilty 
persons ** returned to the service of God and the King 
within three months." 

Candidates for any appointment were submitted to a 
rough and ready examination. If a man came seeking 
a clerkship, he was compelled then and there to furnish 
a specimen of his handwriting. The result was that all 
civil posts were given, as Correa says, to " very official 
men." From his own advantageous position the Viceroy 
could afford to condemn avarice. Men came to India, he 
said, to make their fortunes : but he would strive to make 

^ The Santa Casa de Misericordia (" Holy House of Mercy ") was a lay 
brotherhood established in Goa about 1515. Similar associations existed 
in Portugal, and were afterwards founded in Ormuz and elsewhere in the 
East. They endeavoured to organize charity. Francis Xavier testifies 
to their humanity and skill in detecting impostors (letter to Caspar Baertz, 
March 1549). From 1515 to 1591 the Brotherhood managed the royal 
hospital founded by Albuquerque in Goa, and it shared with the municipal 
authorities in the management of the leper hospital (founded c. 1530). 


the King's fortune. In pursuance of this ideal, he put an 
end to the system by which married men were supplied 
with pay and free rations merely for having braved the 
perils of matrimony. Correa gives a lively account of his 
reforming zeal : 

" The Viceroy had it proclaimed that no seafaring man should wear 
a cloak except on a Sunday or Saint's day on going to church, and if 
they did, that it should be taken away by the constables, and they 
should be put at the pump-break for a day in disgrace ; and that 
every man who drew pay as a matchlockman should wear his match 
fastened to his arm. ... He ordered that the slaves they might have 
should be men who could assist in any labour, for they were not 
going to be allowed to embark pages dressed up like dolls. ... He 
ordered it to be proclaimed, under pain of death and confiscation, that 
any person who had got any of the king's artillery should send and 
deliver it to the magazine, without any penalty, even though he 
might have stolen it anywhere, and this within the space of one month, 
after which they would incur the penalty. In this manner much 
artillery was gathered in." ^ 

The Viceroy now proceeded south to Cochin, where a 
general stampede of the MusHm inhabitants heralded his 
approach : many even of the Portuguese emigrated to the 
Coromandel Coast. He was met by D. Luiz de Menezes, 
brother of the outgoing Governor. It was night when 
Gama's ships encountered the squadron which had put 
out to welcome them, but the glare of the artillery hghted 
up all the fleet as salutes were exchanged — a dangerous 
display, since every gun was fully charged. Correa de- 
scribes the scene as wonderful ; only two Hves were lost. 

In Cochin Gama continued to sweep away abuses, aided 
first by Dr Pedro Nunes, a celebrated mathematician, who 
acted as Comptroller of the Treasury, afterwards by Affonso 
Mexia, who held the same post, and by Lopo Vaz de Sampayo, 
who ultimately became Governor of India. Nunes was 
high in favour with aU who had no interest in adulteration : 
for he contrived to send home pepper that was never green 
nor mouldy nor mixed with sand and grit. Aided by these 
lieutenants, Gama strewed consternation through the 

* Stanley's Correa, pp. 397-398. 



official world. He worked untiringly, dispensing with the 
customary siesta at noonday, and, like Albuquerque, 
employing no doorkeeper. Every morning and evening 
he betook himself to the harbour, inspected the ware- 
houses, and hurried on the lading or discharge of cargo. 

During his own voyage from Cochin, he had been harassed 
by the manoeuvres of many fast-sailing * pirate ' craft, 
which hovered round his own ponderous ships *' as a light 
horseman hovers round a man-at-arms " — to borrow the 
words of Barros. Some swift native-built galleys had been 
ordered, but when they had been dehvered, and duly 
admired by landsmen, the Viceroy ordered them to be 
burned as useless. He then summoned a Genoese boat- 
builder known as Master Vyne, who vowed that he could 
build brigantines quick enough to catch a mosquito, and 
proved himself a man of his word by launching two of them 
in three weeks. D. Vasco secured an abundance of oarsmen 
by the promise not only of pay and rations, but of all goods 
found above deck on any vessel which the rowers might 
overhaul. Each rower kept under his bench a steel helmet 
and breastplate, a lance and two powder-pots, so that on 
coming up with a prize he could instantly transform himself 
into a grenadier. Piracy was thus checked. 

In November, when the retiring Governor, D. Duarte 
de Menezes, arrived in Cochin to make a formal surrender 
of the office he had misused, Gama ordered him not to 
disembark, but to consider himself under arrest and so to 
return to Lisbon on parole. D. Luiz de Menezes, whom 
Corr^a describes as a very discreet man, intervened on 
behalf of his brother, protesting that though D. Duarte 
might have his faults, he at least had never sold one of the 
King's fortresses. 

To this tactful advocacy Gama made a characteristic 
reply : " Sir, if your brother had sold fortresses, he would 
not have his head where it is now, for I should have ordered 
it to be cut off." D. Duarte meanwhile had established 
himself on board his own ship the Sao Jorge, hoping to 
outlive the Viceroy, whose health showed signs of failing, 
and then to resume the governorship. " Since he chooses 


to take his own course, he will hear of me," said D. Vasco 
da Gama, and sent the Auditor-General and the Chief- 
Constable, escorted by two warships, to summon the erring 
proconsul, and if he disobeyed the summons to send his 
ship to the bottom. This was sufficient for D. Duarte, 
who shortly afterwards took his departure. 

The Viceroy now felt that his own death was near. He 
suffered much from abscesses on the nape of his neck, 
which prevented him from moving his head and heightened 
the natural warmth of his temper. After taking counsel 
with his confessor, he delegated his own authority to Affonso 
Mexia and Lopo Vaz de Sampayo, until a new Governor 
should be nominated. Then he took the last sacraments 
and made his will, providing for the future of his servants, 
leaving his clothes and upholstery of silk to the church 
and hospital at Cochin, and bequeathing a dowry to each 
of the women who had been flogged by his order. Lastly, 
he desired that his bones should be conveyed to Portugal. 

He died shortly before dawn on Christmas Eve in 1524. 
All day long no public notification of his death was made, 
and there was no sign of mourning other than the closed 
doors of his house until the hour of Ave Maria, when his 
sons and servants announced that he was dead. Then, as 
Correa says, every man showed what he felt. The prevailing 
emotion was probably a sense of rehef ; for the Viceroy 
was more feared than loved. 

A stately white-bearded figure, he was borne to his 
grave robed in silk and wearing the mantle of the Knights 
of Christ, with a sword in his belt, gilt spurs on his riding 
boots and a dark biretta on his head. He had ruled over 
Portuguese India for three months. 

None of the heroes of Portuguese history was destined 
to win a more enduring fame than the man who first 
traversed the sea-route to India, and was chosen by Camoes 
as the central figure of The Lusiads. The Vasco Da Gama 
of Camoes, however, personifies the faith and valour of 
Portugal, as Virgil's Aeneas personifies the faith and valour 
of ancient Rome ; the portrait is intended to epitomize 
the heroism of a whole nation. 


In life, Gama had the rough virtues of a pioneer and 
the brutal faults of an age which countenanced torture 
and slavery. Like Albuquerque he was iron-willed, fearless, 
incorruptible, born to command. Both men met danger 
and opposition with the same grim humour ; both under- 
stood the uses of visible splendour ; neither spared himself 
or others when there was hard work to be done. But Gama 
preferred to drive men, Albuquerque to lead them. Neither 
was a respecter of persons, but Gama's innate arrogance 
grew with the passage of time until it blinded him to the 
merits of any opinion which differed from his own. Both 
men coveted power, but Albuquerque used it solely to serve 
his King, while Gama exacted a full reward in wealth and 

Albuquerque's was the finer personality, Gama*s the 
greater achievement, if the greatness of an achievement 
may be measured by its permanent value to humanity. 




DOM JOAO DE CASTRO, called by his contemporaries 
" the Portuguese Cato " and " the last hero of 
Portugal," was the son of D. Alvaro de Castro, 
Civil Governor of Lisbon. A penniless cadet of the fidalguia, 
he was destined from his birth in 1500 to the one career in 
which poverty was no bar to preferment ; and it was hoped 
that good brains and better fortune might one day win 
him a mitre, or even a cardinal's hat. But D. Joao himself 
had other ambitions. 

His education was entrusted to Dr Pedro Nunes, the same 
scholar who afterwards aided Gama to reform the finances 
of India. At the age of eighteen D. Joao had become a 
brilliant mathematician and a sound Humanist ; he had also 
formed a close friendship with his fellow-pupil Prince Luiz, 
a son of King Manoel. But the love of adventure was in 
his blood, and almost every day the tidings of great deeds 
done in Africa or India came to stir all generous spirits 
to action, as news from the Spanish Main stirred the heart 
of the West Country in Elizabethan England. At last the 
glitter of arms and the rumour of camps proved irresistible. 
Psalter and canon law had lost their interest, Euclid was 
a mass of arid subtleties, Virgil a reproach and a trumpet- 
call. In 15 19 the student gave his guardians the slip and 
embarked to join the Portuguese armies at Tangier. There 
he learned the science and practice of war in a hard school. 
The tactics of the Berber tribes could only be withstood 
by troops of seasoned valour and discipline. Even though 
flight would bring certain destruction upon the Christians 
encumbered by their armour, it was no light matter to stand 

^ See Appendix A, Special Bibliograpliy, " D. Joao de Castro." 


firm against a rush of the wild desert horsemen, who charged 
fearless of death and assured that all true Muslims who fell 
in the Holy War would sleep that night with the damsels of 
Paradise, while the Fiery Ditch yawned for their adversaries. 
D. Joao had nine years of this experience, and then returned 
to Lisbon an accomplished soldier, who had received knight- 
hood and high praise from his commander, D. Duarte de 

At court he found himself welcome ; and it was probably 
about this period that he married D. Lenor do Coutinho, 
a lady with as long a pedigree and as lean a purse as his own. 
Little is known for certain of their life together, but as 
eight or nine years elapsed before Castro saw active service 
again, it may well have been a time of happiness. Castro 
made his home near Cintra, where his two sons D. Alvaro 
and D. Femao were born. His estate, the Penha Verde 
or Green Peak, is a beautiful tract of woodland and upland, 
olive groves and vineyards, beside the mountain road that 
leads from Cintra to Collares and the sea. After the hard- 
ships of Morocco the country quiet and leisure were doubt- 
less welcome, especially as they were redeemed from mono- 
tony by glimpses of the court. From Penha Verde he 
could almost see the Moorish chimneys of the summer 
palace in Cintra, in shape like two gigantic wine-bottles, 
in colour grey above red-tiled roofs, blue wood-smoke and 
green foliage. Beyond rose the Pena crag, with a Moorish 
castle perched on the topmost pinnacle. The castle, which 
commanded a noble prospect over the Tagus estuary and 
the plain of Mafra, was used as a hunting-lodge, and in the 
surrounding forest of conifers and cork trees there was 
royal game in plenty — boars, wolves, and warrantable 
stags. Here the fidalgos would assemble to display their 
skill in horsemanship or archery, attended by a host of 
rangers and beaters in charge of the nets, hounds and other 
accessories. In these idylhc pleasures the time passed 
away, and it was not until 1535 that Castro resumed his 
mihtary career. 

He accompanied his friend Prince Luiz to Tunis, which 
had been seized in the previous year by the dreaded Turkish 


sea-rover Khair ed-Din Barbarossa, Viceroy of all the 
Ottoman dominions in North Africa. A strong Spanish 
fleet, with Andrea Doria as admiral and the Emperor 
Charles V. in supreme command, sailed from Barcelona, 
retook Tunis, and sunk or burned many of Barbarossa's 
galleys. Among the incidents of the expedition was an 
instructive little comedy of manners, as memorable, in its 
way, as the episode of Raleigh and his cloak. It chanced 
that the Emperor and Prince Luiz had arrived together 
at a doorway where each stepped aside to give precedence 
to his companion. After a brief delay, in which the rival 
claims of rank and hospitality were weighed, the Emperor 
prevailed upon his guest to take the lead. Prince Luiz, 
not to be outdone in courtesy, borrowed a torch from one 
of the pages in attendance, and marched on in front like 
a linkboy, lighting the way for his betters. 

Castro distinguished himself at the siege of Tunis, and 
enhanced his reputation by declining the rewards and 
honour proffered by Charles V. On his return he accepted 
a minor office, the commandership of Sao Paulo de Salvaterra, 
and retired to his home in Cintra. Here he devoted himself 
to forestry, cutting down his orchards and replacing them 
with timber-trees — a " novel mode of agriculture " in 
which his biographer Andrade finds evidence of manly 
fortitude. There is, however, a tradition that the orange was 
first brought to Europe by Castro. Citrons had been enjoyed 
in imperial Rome, and single trees of the sweet orange may 
have been imported from the Levant into Italy during the 
fifteenth century ; but the true China orange was first 
acclimatized in Portugal about the year 1548, and the 
tradition which ascribes its introduction to Castro may 
well be true. 

Castro was now in the prime of manhood, and his thoughts 
naturally turned towards India as the only arena wide 
enough to give his talent and ambition free play. D. 
Garcia de Noronha, nephew to the great Albuquerque, was 
about to sail for India as Viceroy-elect, and Castro, with 
his elder son D. Alvaro, took the opportunity of volunteering 
for service. Offered the captaincy of Ormuz, he is said 


by the veracious Andrade to have refused it as either above 
or below his deserts ; but he saw no reason to decline an 
annuity of 1000 cruzados (£483) from the Treasury. 

The fleet arrived at Goa in September 1538, none too 
soon. Three years before, Bahadur Shah of Gujarat — son of 

" King of Cambay, whose daily food 
Is asp, basilisk and toad/' 

immortalized in Budihras — had given the Portuguese 
licence to build a fortress in the island of Diu, off the coast 
of his own kingdom. But not many months had passed 
ere a bitter feud arose between the Christians and the 
Musalman trading community, and in 1538 the fortress 
was for the first time besieged by the Gujaratis, aided by 
their formidable allies the Turks, who had sent over a fleet 
from Suez. A tremendous fire was poured into the strong- 
hold by the Turkish batteries, among which were guns 
capable of throwing a cast-iron ball of 100 lbs. weight. 
Such heavy metal outranged and silenced any cannon the 
defenders could mount, and only their grim tenacity kept 
the beleaguering force at bay. In such a crisis the Portuguese 
fought as they had fought in the days of Duarte Pacheco, 
and many individual exploits have been recorded. A 
soldier named Fonseca fought with his left hand when a 
bullet had disabled the right, and one unknown genius, 
finding his ammunition all spent, wrenched out a loose 
tooth and fired that. Even the women and children dis- 
played the same reckless valour, risking their lives to tend 
the wounded and scurvy-stricken garrison, to carry am- 
munition, or to wall up a breach — while they devoted their 
leisure to the pious duty of torturing the prisoners. 

At last, early in November 1538, the gaUantry of the 
defenders had its reward, for a dispute between the Turks 
and Gujaratis ended in the departure of the Ottoman 
fleet, and soon afterwards the approach of a small reheving 
force compelled the remainder of the beleaguering army 
to raise the siege. In January 1539 the main body of 
the Viceroy's navy arrived at Diu, with D. Joao de 


Castro aboard, and on the nth of March peace was 

During the whole of D. Garcia de Noronha's term of 
office, it was only Castro's influence that kept the ad- 
ministrative machine in something like running order. 
The Viceroy openly stated that he had come to India to 
make money. He pocketed the salaries of all officials, who 
were thus encouraged to live on bribes and other " per- 
quisites " ; he sold everything that had a market value — 
captaincies, trading licences, judicial verdicts. Though 
he was in his sixty-third year, and so racked with fever 
that he could not hope to live many months, he worked day 
and night to amass a fortune, leaving all affairs of state 
to take care of themselves. 

On the 3rd of April 1540 he died, having spent his last 
hours in gloating over the execution of a man who had been 
condemned, without trial, for a murder of which he was 
known to be innocent. D. Estevao da Gama, the second 
son of D. Vasco, succeeded to the governorship. 


/ / 

/ / 

W-' i^l!^ 

-V ^ 


D 9 

g o 


1-1 Q 



DOM ESTEVAO had been instructed to visit Suez and 
to destroy the Turkish galleys stationed there ; but 
this expedition was delayed owing to the terrible 
famine which devastated the whole of India during the 
winter of 1539-1540. Men and women trooped down to 
the rivers and the sea, and drowned themselves when they 
could no longer endure the agony of hunger ; the natives 
of the Coromandel Coast were driven to cannibalism ; and 
in a letter to Prince Luiz, D. Joao de Castro estimates that 
two-thirds of the people of Vijayanagar perished. 

At last, however, a fleet of 72 sail was collected ; on the 
31st of December 1540 it received the solemn blessing of 
D. Joao de Albuquerque, Bishop of Goa ; and on the morrow 
it stood to sea. Castro has left a Roteiro {i.e. log-book or 
itinerary) of this voyage, which with the earlier itineraries 
of his voyages from Lisbon to Goa in 1538, and from Goa 
to Diu in 1538-1539, calls for more than a passing mention.^ 
All three are concise and lucid ; they make no parade of 
learning ; and yet they are clearly the work of a scholar 
thoroughly at home in Greek and Latin Hterature — one, 
however, who always preferred the witness of his own eyes 
to authority or tradition. 

The first Roteiro is the least interesting except in so far 
as it illustrates Castro's habit of open-minded inquiry. 
He notes every unusual incident from day to day, such as 
the presence of rare birds or animals ; he gives full details 
on soundings, the nature of the sea-floor, the altitude of 
the sun, the depth of water over a harbour bar, the position 
of reefs, and kindred topics. In the second Roteiro he 

* See also Appendix A, Special Bibliography, " D. Joao de Castro." 



shows himself a worthy pupil of Dr Pedro Nunes, who had 
already written on the subject of magnetism. In 1537, 
Nunes had effected several improvements in the variation- 
compass, invented by the German astronomer Purbach 
about 1460 ; and this instrument, which '* consisted of a 
combination of a sun-dial with a magnetic needle," ^ was now 
for the first time extensively used, in a series of observations 
the results of which are recorded in the Roteiros. Castro 
not only speculates on the causes of compass-variation, 
but puts his theories to the test of experiment. He remarks 
the connexion between the movement of the tides and the 
phases of the moon, though at this time the phenomena 
of lunar attraction were almost unstudied. He was the 
first European to describe the cave-temples of Elephanta, 
now world-famous, and his measurements might almost 
be the work of a modern archaeologist, so precise are they. 
He was also the first to notice the curious formation of the 
basalt rock-pillars near Bassein, which he likens to gigantic 
obelisks or organ-pipes. 

The Roteiro of the Red Sea expedition is equally varied 
in its subject-matter, which ranges from Arabic coinage, 
the cause of the monsoons and the properties of a certain 
fleshy-leaved tree with sap like milk, to the nomenclature 
of Ptolemy's Island of the Satyrs, a designation which Castro 
seeks to explain by a reference to the spoor of wild beasts 
visible on the sandy soil and resembling satyrs' hoof marks. 

On the 30th of April a comet was descried " in the 
semblance of a writhing serpent, all luminous." 

" This token and similitude," says Castro, " lasted the space of half 
an hour, and then faded. I marked the direction of the comet by my 
compass, and made it north-east and a quarter of east. Throughout 
that night we lay at our moorings." 

This passage would alone suffice to show how far Castro's 
scientific interests were in advance of the age ; for through- 
out Europe a comet was regarded as an omen of impending 
calamity, not a natural phenomenon to be calmly studied. 
Superstition had been fortified by the appearance of a 

1 Ravenstein, Roteiro ^ p. 168. 


comet in 1456, three years after the fall of Constantinople, 
when the petition " From the devil, the Turk and the comet, 
good Lord deUver us," was added to the Litany. 

The annual rise of the Nile and the colour of the Red 
Sea were mysteries which had long perplexed the learned. 
Castro attributes the overflow of the Nile to " the great 
and continuous rains which fall during the months of June 
and July in Ethiopia, or Abyssinia — which is the same/' 
On the question of the Red Sea, most learned men of the 
day would have rehearsed the opinions recorded by Pliny 
without attempting to see beyond them. But Castro 
brushes aside these threadbare fables — he will have none 
of the legendary King Erithra, whose name was supposed 
to have been confused with the Greek £pv&p6c, red ; he 
declines to be convinced either that the waters were tinged 
by sunbeams, or to accept the satisfying assurance that 
they were red " of their own nature.'' To the Portuguese, 
who had hitherto never sailed north of Massawa, yet boldly 
averred that the sea was coloured by clouds of desert sand, 
he metes out grave irony. 

" I do not reprove the opinion of the Portuguese ; but I affirm 
that, going by this sea more often than they went, and traversing its 
entire extent (while they only viewed one region), I never saw in the 
whole what they claim to have seen in the part." 

Modem philologists have sought for the origin of the 
name Red Sea in the ancient Edom, or Idumea, the " Red 
Land " — itself so called from the red sandstone range of 
Mount Hor. Castro lit upon a less recondite theory. The 
water, he ascertained, was of the common neutral tint, but 
seen from above it appeared as if streaks of red, white and 
green were mingled with it. The red predominated. This 
could not be due to red dust, because the shores of the Red 
Sea were an arid and sunburnt wilderness of grey or brown 
rock resembling heaps of ashes ; only thrice had hills of red 
stone been sighted, and in each case the formation was too 
hard to wear away readily into dust. Clearly the colour of 
the water depended on the character of the bottom, and 
this inference was confirmed by the divers whom Castro 


sent down to explore. The " red coral-stone " which over 
spread the sea-floor " in certain trees and clusters " evi 
dently caused the reddish tint, while growths of green weed; 
or ooze made the water green, and sand made it white. 

The first halting-place of the fleet was Socotra, a moun- 
tainous island peopled by half -naked Nestorian Christians, 
who subsisted mainly upon dates and had no weapons 
except short swords of blunt iron. Castro affirms that all 
the women were named Mary, but the men had the normal 
choice of Biblical names. vSocotra did not long detain the 
fleet, and it arrived at Massawa on the nth of February, 
with the loss of one ship, which had foundered in the Arabian 

The sketch of this seaport left by Castro is a fair example 
of the beautiful drawings with which he illustrated the two 
latest Roteiros. As was the custom of sixteenth -century 
cartographers, he generalized much of his subject. Half 
a dozen houses represent a city ; a galleon stands for a 
whole squadron ; the elephant pounding over the mountain 
tops, the lion rampant, the strange coney with its ponderous 
feet, and the other beasts in the picture are types of the 
local fauna. 

From Massawa the expedition proceeded northward in 
a leisurely fashion, until Aden came into view, standing 
out of the sea like an island in the afternoon light, and 
bringing to Castro memories of the Cintra hills. He ventures 
to observe that Ptolemy had assigned the wrong latitude 
to Aden — a defiance of authority which would have been 
regarded almost as heresy in the Coimbra lecture-rooms. 

Arriving next at Suakin, the Portuguese found the city 
deserted, and burned it with all the ships in the roadstead ; 
there was Httle else for them to do, except to come to blows 
over the vast quantities of loot they acquired. Castro 
waxes eloquent over the natural advantages of the place. 

" The water within the haven is so stilly and runs so imperceptibly, 
that the ebb and flow of the tides can hardly be detected. The bottom 
is mud ; the anchorage nowhere in less than five or six fathoms^ and 
sometimes in seven. Two hundred ships and rowing-boats beyond 
number can lie moored within the shelter and compass of this haven, 














^ w 

< J^ 

^ 9 



and can load by laying a plank from the warehouses to the decks, 
while the galleys are made fast to the doors and stones of the houses, 
and rest with their bows overlapping the streets, which serve instead of 
gangways. There is trade with all parts of India, Arabia, Cairo and 
Alexandria ; gold and ivory in abundance come from Abyssinia ; 
only to Lisbon itself can such an emporium be likened." 

The sack of Suakin served to advertise the voyage, and 
the track of two camels and some men along the sea-coast 
proved that information of their design had preceded the 
Portuguese raiders. To reach Suez at all it was needful 
to hasten, and only sixteen of the fastest ships were per- 
mitted to continue the voyage, while the rest were ordered, 
much against the desire of their crews, to return to Massawa. 
Kosseir was reached on the nth of April ; it was a group 
of wretched hovels in a desert where no green thing flourished, 
but it was important as the nearest harbour to the Nile 
valley. Here the fleet took in fresh provisions. Castro 
asked the inhabitants why they did not roof their huts. 

" They answered me that the shelter of their mats (htsteiras) sufficed 
for the sun, and by rains they were not molested ; but against the 
wickedness of men they were forced to seek stronger defences, and 
therefore decided to make the walls of stone or clay and sods. I asked 
them who were the fierce foemen against whom they fortified them- 
selves with bulwarks so mighty. They told me the Badois [Bedawin], 
a froward and a godless folk, who disquieted the place with their 
sudden forays, and plundered the caravans that came from the Nile 
with stores." 

Castro avers that ' Badoil * means in good Arabic a man 
who lives by cattle-rearing ; he identifies the Bedawin 
with the Troglodytes, Ichthyophagi and Ophiotophagi of 
Ptolemy, PHny, Pomponius Mela and other writers ; and 
he declares that they inhabit the hills and the sea-coast 
from Malindi to Cape Guardafui, and thence up both shores 
of the Red Sea. 

On the 2ist the Portuguese arrived at the village of Tor 
on the Arabian coast. The inhabitants belonged to the 
Greek Church, and among the neighbouring foothills of 
Mount Sinai they had a monastery dedicated to St Catherine. 
This saint, as Castro was informed on the authority of 


*' Anthonino Archbishop of Florence," had been borne 
away by angels from the city of Alexandria, brought to 
this mountain, and buried by their hands. The monks 
came to their brethren of the Western Church, and, with 
tears in their eyes, recounted a pitiful tale. The gist of 
it was that the sacred relics had been exhumed for fear of 
the Bedawin, placed upon a gilded car and conveyed in 
solemn procession to Cairo. Castro, with more shrewdness 
than charity, suggests that the story was concocted by the 
monks to lull the curiosity of their visitors, who might in 
their turn have rectified the error made by the angels, and 
given St Catherine a secure resting-place upon Portuguese 
territory. But no attempt was made to press the matter, 
because the convent and village of Tor were looked upon 
as sacred ground. Castro had himself learned, " from a 
Moor of conspicuous honesty, erudition, and zeal for know- 
ledge," that Tor was the actual spot at which Moses and 
the Hebrews landed after their passage of the Red Sea ; 
while the monks of St Catherine, not to be outdone in 
Biblical lore by a mere Muslim, averred that any man who 
cared to travel a few leagues up the coast might drink at 
the spring unsealed by Moses when he smote the living 
rock with his rod, and caused the waters to flow. 

These legends awoke the old crusading fervour which 
was ever present, though often dormant, in the most cruel 
and reckless of the Portuguese sea-rovers. To them the 
squalid hamlet of Tor was a shrine, and here, under the 
shadow of Sinai, where men breathed the very atmosphere 
of Old Testament history, some of the fidalgos sought the 
honour of knighthood at the hands of their commander. 
Among them was Castro's elder son D. Alvaro, then aged 
thirteen. As they knelt on the sand, waiting in awed 
silence for the accolade which should dedicate their lives 
to God and the King, it is to be presumed that no ironic 
reminiscence of the Jewish massacres in Lisbon intruded 
to break the spell of the hour and the place. Long after- 
wards D. Estevao caused it to be inscribed upon his tomb 
at Vidigueira, as the one memorable deed of his career, that 
he had made knights at the foot of Mount Sinai. 


It was not until the 22nd of April that the Portuguese 
left Tor, to complete the final stage of their journey. They 
made Suez on the 26th, and found it almost derelict. A 
few thatched hovels sheltered the remnant of its people, 
and made a contrast with the stately ruins of its mosques, 
warehouses and bazaars. These had soon fallen into decay 
when Albuquerque won control of the converging trade 
routes which brought the merchandise of India and China 
to this inmost recess of the Red Sea. But although its 
commerce had vanished, Suez had gained a new importance 
as a base for the Ottoman navy ; and it had been rendered 
impregnable when the Portuguese signalled their approach 
by burning and sacking Suakin. Fifty Turkish galleys had 
been beached in a double line along a narrow bill of land 
which had been isolated by the construction of a canal 
across its landward base, and heavy guns had been mounted 
so as to rake any hostile ship that might venture within 
range. The Portuguese had little heart for a forlorn hope, 
and did not try to force a landing. After wasting nearly 
two days they hoisted sail and turned south again, glad to 
escape without loss. Thus the main purpose of the expedi- 
tion was frustrated, largely through the dilatory tactics 
of D. Estevao da Gama. 

At Massawa the baffled raiders rejoined their comrades 
in the main body of the fleet, whose numbers had been 
thinned by famine and the deadly climate. Their supplies 
were wellnigh exhausted ; and when Joao Bermudes, 
the self-st3ded Abyssinian patriarch, descanted on the fruit- 
fulness of his native land beyond the mountains, and on 
the welcome which Prester John would give to Christian 
allies, the starved crews broke into open mutiny. Five 
deserters were hanged ; but a hundred others took arms 
and set forth into the barren hinterland. They made a 
martial show, with a flag flying and a band of music to 
keep them in step ; but their first bivouac followed a hot 
night march, through a land without water ; and when 
the Muslim horsemen swooped down on their camp, the 
Portuguese were faint with thirst, and impeded by the 
burden of their accoutrements. Only two, who saved 


their lives by counterfeiting death, ever returned to 1 

D. Estevao found himself confronted by yet another 
difficulty. The Abyssinians had for years waged war with 
their Muhammadan neighbours of Zeila,whose matchlocks 
and fiery fanaticism made an irresistible combination. 
Couriers from the camp of Prester John were waiting at 
Massawa with urgent appeals for aid ; and on the 7th of 
July a relieving force of four hundred Portuguese was 
dispatched under the command of D. Christovao da Gama.^ 
The fleet then left Massawa, and on the 8th of August 
dropped anchor before Goa. Castro soon afterwards 
returned to Portugal, where in 1543 he was given a fresh 
naval command and commissioned to suppress piracy in 
home waters. In 1545 he was sent back to India, as 
Governor in succession to Martim Affonso de Sousa. 

^ For the tragic story of this expedition, see R. S. Whiteway, The 
Portuguese Expedition to Abyssinia in 1^41-3, Hakluyt Society, London, 
1902. This is an annotated translation of Miguel Castanhoso's Historia 
das cousas que muy esforfado capitdo D. Christovao da Gamafez nos Reynos 
do Preste Jodo, which was written by a member of the expedition, printed 
in 1564, and reprinted by the Academia Real, Lisbon, 1855. 



CASTRO was forced to spend much of his time in 
waging unprofitable wars and in striving to raise 
funds for the costs of administration. But his 
three years' term — from September 1545 to June 1548 — 
is memorable for the heroic defence of Diu, which forms 
the subject of a Portuguese epic written by Jeronymo 

The earlier history of Portuguese enterprise in the island 
of Diu has already been outlined. Peace had been con- 
cluded in 1539, but its terms were so humiliating to the 
Sultan of Gujarat that a rupture could not long be delayed. 
The Portuguese warships allowed no merchantman to visit 
any of the ports of Gujarat unless it had first paid customs- 
dues at their own fortress, where their officials could buy 
such part of the cargo as they might covet, themselves 
fixing the price. Various minor grievances helped to fan 
the smouldering resentment of the Sultan into flame : 
and in March 1546 the Captain of Diu, D. Joao Mascarenhas, 
realized that war was imminent. His conviction was 
strengthened by the discovery that two traitors — Ruy 
Freire, a Portuguese, and Francisco Rodrigues, a mulatto — 
had nearly tunnelled an entrance into the powder-magazine, 
which they had been bribed to explode. 

The island of Diu Hes due south of the Kathiawar Peninsula, 
from which it is sundered by a broad fen, and by a salt- 
water channel navigable only for vessels of fight draught. 
In shape like a roughly drawn diamond, it measures about 
two miles from north to south, and seven miles from east to 
west. The native city stood at its westernmost point, while 

^ O segundo cerco de Diu, Lisbon, 1574. 



the Portuguese had selected the opposite extremity as the sit( 
of their main fortress, three sides of which abutted upoi 
the sea. The fourth or landward side was enclosed by 2 
semicircular line of defence, consisting of three bastions 
linked together by curtains, and of a deep fosse filled witl: 
sea- water. Each bastion had its own name — St John 
nearest the channel and the marshes, St James, in the 
convex centre of the fortified line, and St Thomas, nearest 
the sea and at the southern end of the line. The only 
important outwork was a fortalice built on an isolated rock 
in mid-channel. 

The opposing forces were at first unevenly matched, for 
Mascarenhas could muster only 200 men-at-arms against 
fully 10,000 Gujaratis, Turks, Egyptians and other mer- 
cenaries, led by Sifr Aga, an Italian renegade.^ In heavy 
cannon the besiegers were greatly superior, and they pos- 
sessed an unlimited reserve of "forced labour for the con- 
struction of roads, bridges and entrenchments. 

Sifr Aga brought his siege-train into position on the night 
of April the 20th, and for the next four months the defenders 
were almost isolated. The high seas and gales of the 
monsoon made the dispatch of reinforcements wellnigh 
impossible, though one body of 200 men, under D. Femao 
de Castro, contrived to reach the fortress on the i8th of May. 

Meanwhile the bombardment continued day and night, 
until, under the ceaseless impact of flying stone and bronze, 
the walls began to give way. But the soldiers' wives and 
children came to the rescue. Organized and inspired by 
their elected ' captain,' Isabel Madeira, they repaired the 
shattered masonry and supervised the slaves and other 
non-combatants. Isabel Madeira was the wife of a Nestorian 
surgeon, one Mestre Joao, whose house was converted into 
a hospital ; among the other officers of this corps of Amazons 
were Garcia Rodrigues, wife of the traitor Ruy Freire, and 
Isabel Femandes, known as ' the old woman of Diu,' who 
braved the hottest fire to bring her sugar-cakes to the men 

^ Couto {Dec. vi. Bk. ii. chap. ii. p. 98) says that Sifr Aga's mother, 
a good Catholic resident in Otranto, sent him a yearly letter of good 
advice, addressed to " Sifr Aga, my son, at the Gates of Hell." 


on duty, feeding those whose hands were occupied, and 
exclaiming : " Keep a good heart, my sons ; fight on, my 
cavaliers, for the Virgin Our Lady is with you ! " 

In the last week of June, a well-aimed cannon-ball de- 
prived the besiegers of their general, Sifr Aga, but his son 
and successor Rumi Khan pressed the siege with such 
vigour that the defence was strained almost to breaking- 
point. By the end of July, his artillery had breached all 
the bastions ; his engineers had filled in the fosse, and 
completed a line of semi-permanent fortifications opposite 
to the landward front of the fortress ; and two general 
assaults had been foiled only after the storming-parties 
had scaled the walls and fought ' beard to beard,' as 
Couto says, with the Portuguese. 

The garrison were also menaced with starvation. For 
the storehouses had been riddled with shot until they were 
no longer weather-proof, and the only provisions left — 
rice and sugar — had grown mouldy in the moist, hot atmos- 
phere. Cats and dogs had been eaten, flavoured with a 
stew of the weeds that flourish after tropical rain ; and any 
marksman fortunate enough to bring down one of the kites 
or carrion-crows that flocked to gorge on the dead had no 
difficulty in selling his game. The hospital was full and 
the medicine-chests empty : even the stock of gunpowder 
was nearly exhausted ; and only the cheerfulness and 
resource of Mascarenhas staved off despair. There were 
times when even the old campaigners of Diu lost heart, 
and clamoured to be led into the open, where they could 
die fighting hke men instead of waiting for death like rats 
in a trap. But every emergency found Mascarenhas pre- 
pared. Even when the supply of powder-pots ran short, 
he was able to improvise a substitute out of two tiles, 
placed sandwich-fashion, with the convex surfaces out- 
wards and the charge within.^ 

On the loth of August D. Femao de Castro and many of 
the leading fidalgos were drawn, by a series of feints, to 
the St John bastion. When Mascarenhas saw that no 
attempt was made to drive the attack home, he ordered 

1 Dec. vi. Bk. ii. chap. viii. p. 149. 


the defenders to retire, warning them that the bastion was 
probably mined. They would have obeyed, but for the 
taunts of Diogo de Reynoso, D. Fernao's guardian, who 
shouted that only a coward would desert his post. A 
moment later the bastion was blown to atoms, and both 
Reynoso and D. Fernao lay dead. Seventy men had been 
killed or wounded by the explosion ; but as the dense clouds 
of smoke rolled away, Joao Coelho, the chaplain, leapt into 
the breach, holding up his crucifix, and the few survivors 
rallied round the symbol of their faith. While the fighting 
was still hot, a crowd of women and slaves arrived carrying 
beams, stones, and ammunition. Before night they had 
completed an inner line of retrenchment behind the bastion, 
which was abandoned as no longer tenable. 

On the 13th of August, when all but eighty of the garrison 
had been disabled, a small boat came in sight, flying the 
flag of Portugal. She was manned by a few picked fighters, 
who had crossed over from Chaul in the teeth of a gale. 
There had been no lack of volunteers for this forlorn hope. 
One gigantic man-at-arms, left on shore lest his weight 
should overburden the boat, had swum out with his match- 
lock between his teeth, until the captain relented and 
allowed him to scramble on board. Other reinforcements 
followed, and on the 29th appeared a flotilla of more than 
forty small vessels commanded by D. Alvaro de Castro 
and D. Francisco de Menezes. 

The new men found themselves required to stand sentry 
day and night over heaps of shattered masonry or flimsy 
barricades of timber ; to disregard the bullets and arrows 
singing past their ears ; not to flinch when an oath and a 
smothered cry told them that some invisible sniper had 
found his target, or when the faint clink and thud of pick- 
axes proved that the ground under their very feet was being 
mined. To such a strain their nerves were not yet equal ; 
and in less than three days after disembarkation they broke 
into mutiny, demanding that Mascarenhas should at once 
assume the offensive. 

Their clamour prevailed. On the afternoon of September 
1st, twenty score Portuguese marched boldly forth to 


engage twenty thousand Muhammadans entrenched behind 
high and massive fortifications. The mutineers advanced 
in three detachments, Mascarenhas leading the centre, 
Menezes and D. Alvaro the wings. From the time they 
left the fortress they were under fire. Menezes and many 
other fidalgos were shot down in the first rush to carry the 
semi-permanent works by escalade. Soon afterwards D. 
Alvaro ordered his own followers to retreat and set the 
example by taking to his heels. Mascarenhas — blackened 
with powder and dripping blood and sweat — strove in vain 
to rally the panic-stricken remnant, who crouched among 
the rank vegetation at the foot of the walls, refusing to 
budge until they felt the point of his pike. Then they 
broke cover and fled, having lost more than a fourth of their 
number in killed and wounded. 

For the next five weeks the garrison stood sullenly at 
bay behind their inner retrenchment, which consisted of 
a rough breastwork forming curtains between the houses 
nearest to the enemy. Moonrise on the loth of October 
marked the beginning of Ramadan, and for twenty-seven 
out of the appointed thirty days the Musalman army fasted 
from dawn till sunset, praying Allah to grant victory to the 
faithful, but making no attempt to press the siege. 

At last, on the 6th of November 1546, D. Joao de Castro 
appeared off Diu in command of twelve great galleons and 
a host of smaller vessels. During eight months he had been 
collecting men and ships from every Portuguese settlement 
along the Malabar Coast, and waiting for the end of the 
monsoon. The troops had been steadily drilled and exer- 
cised in field manoeuvres on the marshy plains near Goa, 
where a lath and plaster facsimile of Rumi Khan's fortifica- 
tions had been erected, from plans supplied by Mascarenhas. 

A council of war was at once held aboard the flagship, 
and a plan of campaign concerted. Three caravels were 
told off to assist the defenders of the island fortalice in 
bombarding Rumi Khan's left flank, and during daylight 
the main body of the fleet kept the enemy constantly on 
the move to repel any sudden landing which might threaten 
their right and rear. At night, however, the soldiers of 


the relieving army were secretly drafted into the fortress, 
by means of rope-ladders planted along the cliffs ; while a 
flotilla of small boats, with lights ablaze, trumpets sounding, 
and a forest of lances bristling on deck, was rowed to and 
fro by non-combatants, so as to distract attention from 
the landing-parties. This ruse succeeded so well that 
within three nights the whole fighting force was quartered 
within the Portuguese lines, though the Muhammadans 
were unaware that its disembarkation had begun. 

A second council of war was now held to consider the 
next move. Castro seems to have left the matter in the 
hands of his captains, some of whom urged him not ** to 
stake all India on a single cast of the dice " by risking 
battle against overwhelming odds. About 20,000 men 
garrisoned the semi-permanent fortifications which faced 
the Portuguese lines, and it was rumoured that the Sultan 
of Gujarat had another army of 50,000 in reserve. To 
meet this array, Castro could only place some 3500 men in 
the field, exclusive of a few hundred native levies. But 
Garcia de Sd — a veteran of fifty years' service, who after- 
wards succeeded Castro as Governor of India ^ — finally 
persuaded the assembled captains to offer battle. 

The morrow was the nth of November — celebrated 
by the Christians as St Martin's Day, and by the Muslims 
as the Lesser Feast of Bairam. At sunrise three rockets 
fired over the sea gave the signal for an advance, and the 
Portuguese ships moved out along the north-eastern shore 
of the island. They were preceded by the Governor's 
state barge, flying the royal standard ; and, as before, 
were chiefly manned by non-combatants, though the dis- 
play of weapons and lighted matches still convinced Rumi 
Khan's scouts that the entire Portuguese army was on 
board. The object of this manoeuvre was to divert a 
portion of Rumi Khan's troops by the threat of a descent 
upon their left flank, while Castro delivered a sudden 
frontal attack upon the positions thus weakened. 

These tactics drew away Rumi Khan and some 12,000 
Gujaratis to the southern bank of the channel, about a 
* June 5th 1548 to July 6th 1549. 


mile from the fortified position, which was Castro's real 
objective. In their absence, the Portuguese army issued 
suddenly from the fortress. Mascarenhas with 500 men- 
at-arms led the van, supported by two companies of the 
same strength, which were commanded by D. Alvaro and 
D. Manoel de Lima. These three units, together forming 
the first division, were followed by a second division of 
some 1500 men, headed by the Governor in person. Castro's 
troops hung back at first, but a false rumour that the enemy 
were in full retreat restored their courage. Meanwhile 
the advanced guard had charged down upon the semi- 
permanent works, which were held by 8000 mercenaries — 
— the pick of the besieging army — under the Sultan's 
Abyssinian general Juzar Khan. There was keen rivalry 
for the honour of being first to scale the walls. One fidalgo, 
D. Joao Manoel, strove vainly to hoist himself over the 
parapet by his forearms, after both hands had been cut 
off : he fell back dead, and, according to Couto, the coveted 
distinction was shared between Cosmo de Paiva and Miguel 
Rodrigues Coutinho — the * Fios Seccos ' satirized by 
Camoes. Other storming-parties followed, and after a 
fierce struggle gained the whole fortified line of batteries. 

Rumi Khan and his 12,000 Gujaratis now arrived upon 
the scene, but they had lost the advantage of fighting 
behind bricks and mortar, and could not cope with the mail- 
clad Portuguese in a hand-to-hand encounter. Even so, 
Castro's advance was checked by the sheer weight and 
mass of the opposing forces, until his Franciscan comrade, 
Antonio do Casal, came forward to rally the waverers, 
holding aloft his crucifix lashed to the end of a spear. When 
a stone flung by one of the Gujarati slingers shattered one 
arm of the cross — " Follow me," exclaimed the friar, 
" follow me, my children, knights of Christ ! Charge 
to avenge our God ! " His words revived the flagging 
energies of the Portuguese, who from that moment became 
irresistible. By the time darkness set in, Castro was master 
of the whole island ; Rumi Khan and 3000 of his men were 
killed ; 600, including Juzar Khan, were prisoners. 



THOUGH the war was not yet over, India had been 
saved. The credit belongs primarily to Mascarenhas, 
and after him to the council of captains whose 
strategy had rendered victory possible. Castro, though 
his fame as a commander rests principally upon the relief 
of Diu, had merely taken good advice and played a gallant 
part in the actual fighting. Mascarenhas was rewarded 
by an extension of his term as Captain — a duty so onerous 
that no other fidalgo would accept the responsibility — 
and throughout the winter all hands were kept hard at 
work in rebuilding the fortress. An epidemic, due to the 
number of bodies which had been buried in the ruins, cost 
1500 lives, and the Governor found it hard to feed or pay 
the survivors. He succeeded in raising a loan of £6000 in 
Goa by depositing some hairs from his beard as a pledge. 
The historians relate that women sold their jewels, and all 
classes were eager to contribute ; but though the pledge 
was returned in a silver casket, the covering letter contains 
a statement of grievances and a request for early payment. ^ 
Fortunately the capture of a richly laden ship soon enabled 
Castro to discharge the debt. - 

In April he returned to Goa, and as a study in manners, 
the description of his triumphal entry into the capital is 
not without interest. On Sunday the 15th of April, 1547, 
he stepped ashore upon a specially constructed pier, gay 
with streamers of silk and brocade. He was wearing a 
suit of crimson satin and cloth of gold, with a plumed cap 
of black velvet ; beside him marched his son, and before 
him the Franciscan Antonio do Casal, carrying his broken 

^ Printed in Andrade, p. 460. 

• • • •• « 

•. ••••,• 




crucifix. Hardly less conspicuous was Juzar Khan, walking 
with folded hands and eyes downcast, '* for fear,'* as Faria 
y Sousa remarks, " he should see our colours flying and his 
own trailed through the dust.** Six hundred prisoners 
were paraded through the streets, preceded by trophies of 
captured arms and armour. The water-gate had been too 
narrow for so much magnificence, and part of the walls 
had been broken down to afford an entrance worthy of 
the occasion. Here the procession halted to receive an 
address of welcome, " spoken in Latin of much elegance,'* 
and then passed on between the dense lines of spectators, 
whose cheers and cries of ** Long live the saviour of our 
country ! " mingled with the din of trumpets, drums and 
fifes. Mortars discharged volleys of sweetmeats into the 
air, and from the balconies overhead the ladies of Goa 
showered roses and perfumes upon their hero. 

By and by there was another halt : the aldermen spread 
a rich canopy over Castro's head, while the procurator of 
the city removed his cap " with much reverence and 
courtesy," substituting a wreath of palm and thrusting a 
palm-branch into his hand.^ Small wonder that, as Couto 
says, the Governor proceeded on his way ** cheerful and 
smiling." Outside the church of St Francis he was greeted 
by a company of friars chanting Benedictus qui venit in 
nomine Domini, and at the cathedral the Bishop and other 
high dignitaries of the Church were also waiting to bid 
him welcome, arrayed in full canonicals. Two features of 
the pageant which delighted the crowd were a model of 
the Diu fortress in wood and coloured paper, where salutes 
were fired from real guns and powder-pots, and an artificial 
forest in which living hares and birds disported themselves. 
In brief, as Queen Catherine remarked when she heard of 
the spectacle, Castro had " conquered like a Christian and 
triumphed like a heathen." 

In 1547 the Portuguese had a last chance to annex Aden, 
and thus to close the main approach by which a Turkish 
fleet could menace India. The Arab inhabitants, weary 

^ Correa, vol. iv. p. 596. Correa supervised the painting of the portrait 
which represents Castro thus adorned. 


of Osmanli rule, had revolted, expelled the Ottoman garrison, 
and set up an independent government under their Shaikh, 
Ali bin Sulaiman. Then, fearing that the Turks would 
return in force, they appHed for aid to the Portuguese 
Captain of Ormuz. The opportunity was too good to be 
missed ; and Castro's kinsman, D. Payo de Noronha, was 
at once sent to Aden in command of a small fleet. He 
found himself heartily welcome, and took up his quarters 
on shore while Ali bin Sulaiman sallied out to meet the 

The night noises of an Oriental city troubled D. Payo's 
nerves. There were cries and whispers in the dark, bubbling 
camels and furtive pariah dogs that snarled and worried 
over the dust-heaps. If D. Payo peered through his lattice, 
he could see groups of uncanny white-robed Arabs prowling 
round the doorways. Heaven only knew what treason 
and devilry they might be plotting. The gallant commander 
accordingly re-embarked and slept more soundly in his 
own cabin. When news reached him that his allies had 
been routed and the Turks were at hand, he determined 
not to risk the precious lives of his men, but slipped away, 
leaving Aden to take care of itself. His memory is kept 
green by the anecdote of a kind-hearted citizen, who one 
day noticed a little girl crying on D. Payo's doorstep and 
stopped to comfort her. Having ascertained that D. 
Payo's servants had stolen her hen, he bade her dry her 
tears and face the inevitable. " If it were Aden," he told 
her, *' you could have it and welcome ! But a hen ! No, 
they'll never surrender that." ^ 

Tidings of Ali bin Sulaiman 's appeal for help reached 
Castro in India long before he learned of the subsequent 
fiasco. As rapidly as his mutinous troops would allow, he 
equipped a fljdng squadron under the command of D. 
Alvaro, and dispatched it to seize the long-coveted fortress. 
D. Alvaro arrived to find a new Turkish garrison in pos- 
session, and did not attempt the hopeless task of an assault 
with his meagre force of 300 men. But he was resolved 
not to forego the laurels of victory, and promptly set forth 

* Couto, Dec. vi. Bk. vi. chap. vi. p. 47. 


to discover a sufficiently helpless foe. By skirting the 
Arabian shore eastward from Aden, he came presently 
to the town of Shakhra, which was defended by a small 
fort of sun-baked clay. Its garrison, consisting of 35 
Arabs, inconsiderately offered to surrender, but D. Alvaro 
would hear of no reasonable terms. The fort was bombarded 
and captured, though not without heavy loss, and all the 
defenders were put to the sword. Fresh from this exploit, 
D. Alvaro returned to Goa, where he, too, indulged in a 
triumphal procession. 

But all sense of humour was not dead, even in Goa. 
Couto describes a conversation between Bishop Albuquerque 
and a priest who was celebrated for his skill in solving 

" What is it/' the Bishop inquired^ " that from bitter grew sweet, 
from large small and from small large ? " " Bitter almonds ^ became 
sweet/' the priest replied^ " when the Governor was pelted with them 
on his return from Diu ; from being large, the taking of Broach became 
small, because the captor was D. Jorge de Menezes ; from being small, 
the taking of Shakhra became large, because the captor was the 
Governor's own son." 

Couto does not quite approve of the Bishop, who '* laughed 
heartily at this reply." 

Castro was wasted with fever, when the shameful news 
from Aden reached him ; and it preyed upon his mind, 
so that he grew weaker day by day. When he was already 
past work, a ship from Portugal came to announce that he 
had been granted the title of Viceroy, with a three years* 
extension of his term ; soon afterwards, on the 5th of June 
1548, he died in the arms of his friend and confessor, the 
Jesuit Francis Xavier. The cause of his death, according 
to the oft-quoted words of Faria y Sousa, " was a disease 
which to-day kills no man ... for diseases also die. 
It was a keen sense of the wretched state to which India 
had come, and of his own inabiUty to repair it." 

Historians have extolled D. Joao de Castro as the type 
of a chivalrous soldier and gentleman. His courage was 
beyond cavil, his unbending honesty earned him his nick- 
el * Port, mafapdes, ' marzipans,' Couto, I.e. p. 48. 



name of * the Portuguese Cato * ; he was assuredly a man 
of higher character than any who had ruled India since 
the days of Albuquerque. But his biographers have, with 
the best intentions, caricatured his very virtues and made 
him appear a gasconading pedant. They delight to tell 
how he cut to ribbons the costly cloak ordered by his son, 
and bade the youth buy arms ; or how he decorated the 
vestibule of his audience-chamber with dummy monsters, 
so as to strike terror into the hearts of native ambassadors. 

If we turn to his own letters and note-books, we find him 
a man of a different stamp; hot-tempered, indeed, but 
shrewd, broad-minded, humorous and, above all, a true 
son of the Renaissance, combining its reverence for antiquity 
with its new-born interest in nature. His imitation of a 
Roman triumph and his discourse on the Red Sea are 
equally manifestations of this Renaissance spirit. In the 
letters there is nothing of the pedant, much that shows 
the writer a keen judge of men. He knew that Portuguese 
India was living on its reputation, that prestige was its 
chief asset. Hence the dummy dragons, the theatrical 
parade of captives, the triumphal arches. Hence also the 
use, in an official document, of the imposing new title 
" Lion of the Sea." ^ It was all a game of bluff as well 
as an amusing classical exercise. Castro had realized the 
worth of his followers : " not such that Our Lord should 
work a miracle for them," he explained to his royal master, 
after regretting that he had not so much as five loaves and 
two small fishes with which to fill the multitude of clamorous 
mouths. Knowing his men so well, he deliberately applied 
to them the VirgiHan principle — possunt quia fosse videntur 
— cheating them into a belief in their own courage which 
made them invincible. 

But Castro himself deserves to be remembered rather 
as among the first of Portuguese scientists than as the last 
of Portuguese heroes. Not until the nineteenth century 
were the Roteiros printed and the real interest of his career 

^ O lido do maar o senhor dom Johao de Crasto (sic) : Botelho, Tombo, p. 39. 
The use of such titles was quite common in India. Bahadur Shah, for 
example, was styled " The Tiger of the World." 


disclosed. Andrade does indeed mention his scientific 
tastes, but only to apologize for them as a pastime rather 
eccentric in so great a man. His officers probably regarded 
their captain with compassionate surprise when they saw 
him studying the footprints of a wild goat, or marking the 
direction of a comet, while all sane men were on their knees, 
praying that the omen might be averted. 

He was greater than they could guess. His interest in 
all natural phenomena, however seemingly trivial, and his 
use of experiment, place him among the few men of his age 
who felt the spirit and essayed the methods of modem 
science. It was part of the tragedy of Portugal that the 
development of this scientific spirit was apt to be mistaken 
for the spread of heresy. 




WHILE new territories were being won for the 
Portuguese Crown in Asia and Africa, at home 
the monarchy was undergoing a process of gradual 
and painless decay. King Manoel had ruled ; his successors 
only reigned. Their policy was directed by ecclesiastical 
advisers, who subordinated the welfare of their country 
to the interests of their Church. This change was not due 
merely to the ineptitude and bigotry of John III. and 
Sebastian, for the Church had been greatly strengthened 
by its victories over two formidable adversaries — Judaism 
and Humanism. 

The history of the Jews in Portugal is one of singular 
and tragic interest. Their unpopularity was due to other 
causes than race-hatred, from which the Portuguese have 
ever been immune. Even in the thirteenth century Jews 
were eligible to high official positions ; from Affonso II. 
(1211-1223) their courts received complete autonomy in 
civil and criminal cases, and the Chief Rabbi was a royal 
official, who bore the arms of Portugal on his seal. Though 
the Jews were, from the first, compelled to live in certain 
streets called Juderias or Jewries, it was not until 1325 
that they were forced to wear the distinctive badge of a 
six-pointed yellow star in their hats or cloaks. 

The Sephardic Jews of Spain and Portugal differed from 
the Ashkenazim of Germany and Poland in character far 
more than in ritual. The leading members of their com- 
munities were not retail traders but bankers or merchant 
princes. No Moorish emir or Castilian grandee was ever 
more dignified ; for the Portuguese Jews saw in Israel 



the aristocracy of nations and in themselves the aristocracy 
of Israel. In culture they certainly excelled their rulers ; 
for to the knowledge of their own literature many of them 
added a profound study of Gentile art and science — the 
philosophy of Aristotle, mathematics, astronomy, astrology 
and above all medicine and surgery, of which they were 
the foremost exponents in Europe. Many of them attained 
eminence as poets or historians, and between 1487 and 1495 
Hebrew printing-presses were established successively at 
Faro, Lisbon and Leiria. 

The growth of prejudice against them was the work 
neither of the Crown nor of the commons, but of the two 
intermediate estates of the realm. The sight of a Jewish 
congregation going to worship in its own synagogue bitterly 
offended the clergy ; the furred or silken robes and gold 
chains of rich Hebrew merchants, their fine Barbary horses 
and the other symbols of their wealth filled the nobles with 
a sense of righteous wrath, even though the scruples of an 
impoverished aristocrat might, now and then, be overcome 
by the charms of a Jewish heiress. When a Jew was 
nominated receiver of customs {almoxarife) or medical 
adviser to the King, his preferment wounded the pride of 
Catholic subordinates and competitors. In time the 
influence of the clergy and the nobles helped to inflame the 
commons, who were taught to regard the Jews as heathen 
intruders who fattened on the spoils wrung from their 
innocent and orthodox fellow-citizens. The ghetto, and 
the deeper spiritual exclusiveness fostered by Judaism 
among its votaries produced an atmosphere of suspicion, 
in which fear was added to jealousy and religious prejudice. 
Rabbinical learning was confounded with black magic. 
The charges of ritual murder or of poisoning wells levelled 
to-day against the Jews in Russia, Rumania, or Hungary, 
had their counterpart in Portugal. One sinister rumour 
ascribed the coming of the bubonic plague to Jewish male- 
volence. It stands to the credit of the Portuguese Kings 
that they long resisted the pressure exercised by their 
subjects, and even by Popes and friendly sovereigns. No 
doubt their patronage of Judaism was not due to pure 


benevolence. The Juderias were models of thrift, industry, 
civic virtue of every kind ; and without Jewish bradns and 
capital the commerce of the country would have been 
paralysed. Moreover they contributed a share of the 
revenue not lightly to be surrendered. They paid poll- 
taxes, road-taxes, navy-taxes, taxes on every business 
transaction, however small. A Jew could not buy a basket 
of eggs or sell a bundle of thyme without enriching the 
treasury by percentage of the price. To instil into his 
mind a salutary consciousness of inferiority, a special poll- 
tax of 30 dinheiros was imposed, in memory of the thirty 
pieces of silver paid to Judas Iscariot. This somewhat 
grim piece of humour was borrowed from Castile. In 
neither kingdom did the rulers notice that, as the recipients 
of the money, they had cast themselves for the part of Judas. 
Affonso V. (1438-81), a kindly and just monarch, per- 
mitted the Jews to reside outside the Juderias, freed them 
from the obligation to wear distinguishing badges, and even 
appointed a Jew, Isaac Abravanel, to be his minister 
of finance ; but it was in his reign that the popular hatred 
came to a head. In 1449, irritated by the influence of 
men like Abravanel, or of Joseph ben David ibn Yahya, 
who entertained the King with learned discourse on theology 
and physics, the inhabitants of Lisbon stormed and sacked 
the Juderias in the city, killing several of the inhabitants. 
Affonso sternly repressed the rioters. But the influence 
of the Jews, and especially their ostentatious display of 
wealth provoked fresh complaints ; and the Cortes four 
times petitioned the Crown to enforce the antisemitic 
provisions of the canon law. John II. (1481-95) found, 
like his predecessor, that Jews were useful ; and when 
more than 90,000 Jewish refugees from Castile fled into 
his dominions, he promised them asylum for eight 
months, in return for a poll-tax of eight cruzados (£3, iis. 6d.). 
But they were warned that after eight months they must 
leave the country in ships provided by the King. John 
hastened to collect the tax, but was less punctual in fur- 
nishing the transport. So dilatory was he that many 
Jews were unable to depart. Those who remained were 


enslaved, while their children were taken from them and 
shipped to the island of Sao Thome, there to be devoured 
by wild beasts, to die of starvation, or to survive as best 
they might. Hardly more fortunate was the lot of those 
who took ship in time and found themselves at the mercy 
of a fanatical crew, whose ferocity was heightened by dread 
of the plague. 

The motives which inspired King Manoel's persecution of 
the Jews have already been described. On the 4th of 
December 1496, four days after the signature of his marriage 
contract, he issued an ordinance commanding all Jews to 
leave his dominions before the end of October 1497. Those 
who remained would forfeit their lives and property ; any 
Christian who shielded a Jew after the period of grace would 
be deprived of all his possessions ; never again should the 
unbelievers be suffered to defile the Catholic land of Portugal 
with their presence. Meanwhile a plan was formulated 
by which the economic dangers of this wholesale exodus 
might be lessened. At the instance of a renegade, Levi ben 
Shem-Tob, and in spite of the protests of Bishop Fernando 
Coutinho and the state council over which he presided at 
Estremoz, Manoel determined to baptize all Jews of 
either sex between the ages of four and twenty-five. 

The victims received two days notice of the intention 
to ** make them Christians " (facer e Christianos), as the 
process was termed by contemporary optimists. On the 
first day of Passover (the 19th of March), children and 
youths were driven in herds to the churches, joining loudly 
in the lamentations and protests of their elders, and declaring 
their und5dng faith in the creed of Israel. Many parents, 
seeing no hope of deliverance, killed their children and 
themselves ; some famihes were concealed by friendly 
Portuguese. When October came and the period of grace 
drew to an end, the King proclaimed that all Jews must 
assemble in Lisbon and there embark. Twenty thousand 
persons came, and were marshalled in a huge palace which 
afterwards became the headquarters of the Inquisition. 
They were informed that the time for sailing had elapsed 
and that they were now slaves of the King. Threats, 


promises and even the exhortations of two apostates of 
their own race failed to convince the Jews that the rehgion 
of their tormentors was superior to their own. So the 
twenty thousand " obstinate heathen " [cafres contumasses), 
as they were called, were haled by their hair or beards to 
the font, and forcibly baptized. The outspoken condemna- 
tion of this outrage by such men as the high-minded Bishop 
Coutinho, and the patronage extended to the Jews by 
Pope Alexander VI. led to a temporary lull in the persecution 
of the '* New Christians " or Maranos, as the baptized Jews 
were styled. In 1498 many of them were permitted to 
sell their property and emigrate, but this avenue of escape 
was closed by a royal edict, which forbade emigration. 

On the night of the 17th of April 1506 a party of New 
Christians were arrested for joining in the celebration of 
the Passover, and some of them were imprisoned for two 
days. Their liberation, attributed by the populace of 
Lisbon to bribery, aroused a storm of indignation, which 
broke loose on the morning of the 19th. The Christian 
and Marano worshippers, assembled in the church of the 
Dominicans to pray for a cessation of the plague which was 
devastating the city, were startled by the vision of a luminous 
reliquary and crucifix shining in one of the dimly lit side- 
chapels. A Jew who ventured to hint that the miracle 
was caused by the reflection from a sunlit window, was 
seized and slaughtered by a band of infuriated women, 
and his body was burned in the Rocio or chief square of 
Lisbon. A wild mob of men and women, maddened by 
religious zeal or the prospect of loot and bloodshed, rushed 
through the streets, headed by two Dominican friars, who 
urged them on with cries of " Heresia ! Heresia ! " Babies 
were strangled or flung upon the pyres where living and 
dead were burned together ; women who sought refuge in 
church were dragged from beneath the altar and slain. 
At least two thousand New Christians perished. 

But the King, who feared the clergy as Httle as their 
victims, took summary vengeance. The lay ringleaders 
were hanged, beheaded, or hewn in pieces ; the two Domini- 
cans were expelled from their order, garrotted and burned ; 


all who had taken plunder were flogged and fined. So 
effective were these remedies that while Manoel lived none 
dared again attack the Jews, who from 1507 to 1521 were 
once more permitted to emigrate. Almost all those who 
were unwilling to abjure their creed now fled from the 
country ; and after the establishment of the Inquisition in 
1536, large numbers of the '' New Christians " were driven 
by persecution to follow this example, greatly to the dis- 
advantage of Portuguese commerce. They found one 
safe asylum under the Portuguese flag : this was in Brazil, 
where the Society of Jesus afterwards became all-power- 
ful and successfully resisted the introduction of the Holy 

^ The best modern account of the Jews in Portugal is the article 
" Portugal " in the Jewish Encyclopcedia. Apart from the Portuguese 
historians, the chief sixteenth-century description of the persecution is in 
Samuel Usque's masterpiece, Consolofum as tribulafoes de Israel. 




WHEN John III. came to the throne of Portugal in 
1521, Judaism as a separate religion had almost 
ceased to exist in his kingdom ; but the Church 
was confronted by a new and more difficult problem. To 
the discoveries of new continents and oceans made by 
Columbus and Gama, had been added an even vaster area 
of spiritual discovery. Manuscripts which had been hoarded 
for centuries in the monasteries of Greece and the Balkans, 
had been snatched from their dusty hiding-places at the 
coming of the Turks ; and now, nearly seventy years after 
the fall of Constantinople, the wisdom and the poetry of 
Greece and Rome were giving new ideals to civilization. 
More had pubHshed his Utopia, Erasmus his revised Greek 
Testament ; Machiavelli had composed his Principe ; 
Luther had defied the Pope. 

The defenders of the old order, armed with the authority 
of tradition and the formidable if cumbrous weapons of 
scholasticism, rallied against the innovators who stood 
for Humanism and Reform. As yet the University of Paris, 
the intellectual headquarters of Europe, was open to the 
partisans of either side. Hither came the most promising 
students of all nations, among them a large contingent from 
Spain and Portugal, seekers for a broader culture than 
Salamanca or Lisbon could impart. Ste. Barbe, one of the 
two or three score colleges in the university, was the founda- 
tion they most frequented. John III. had commissioned 
its principal, Diogo de Gouvea, to purchase the college 
as a training-ground for the priests and administrators 
intended to control his dominions overseas. Gouvea had 
failed in this, but had secured a lease. One of his lecturers 



was the famous Scottish Humanist George Buchanan, 
who was destined to acquire a closer knowledge of Portugal 
than he could have desired. 

Buchanan, born near Killeam in Stirlingshire, either in 
1506 or 1507, was the son of a Highland father, possibly 
Irish in descent, and of a Lowland mother, Agnes Heriot 
by name. He graduated at St Andrews, and took his 
degree of Master at Paris in 1528, thus qualifying for the 
post of regent, or member of the teaching staff ; and this 
office he obtained at Ste. Barbe in the same year. 

Here were educated the foremost of those thinkers and 
preachers who were, within a generation, to fight out in 
Coimbra the issues between Catholicism and the New 
Learning ; to organize missions throughout the Portuguese 
empire, to raise the authority of the Portuguese Church 
above that of the Crown, and finally to change the whole 
character and mental outlook of the Portuguese nation. It 
is worth while pausing to consider the environment in 
which these men received their early training. 

University life was by no means devoid of hardship. 
Lectures lasted from daylight until dark, and only the 
teacher enjoyed the luxuries of desk and chair ; the scholars 
squatted round him on the floor, keeping themselves warm 
in winter with piles of straw. Erasmus in one of his " Col- 
loquies," the Ichthyophagia, shows clearly enough how 
sordid was a student's lot at Montaigu, his own college. 
" The very walls there teach divinity," he writes, ** but as 
for me, I brought nothing out of it but my body full of 
gross humours, and my clothes full of Kce." ' 

Erasmus refers to a state of affairs which existed towards 
the close of the fifteenth century. The later influence of 
Reform, within and without the Church of Rome, tended 
to make the life more ascetic and discipline more harsh. 
In such matters the customs of Paris were no worse than 
those of other foundations. It was reserved for the Uni- 
versity of Glasgow to enact, in the seventeenth century, 
that condign punishment should be inflicted on all students 
who so far forgot themselves as to play at ball, or to en- 
counter any senior member of the staff without seeking 


to shun his Olympian eye ; while bathing was an offence 
which could only be met with flogging and expulsion.^ 
Rabelais seems to be criticizing a similar perverted notion 
of decency in his description of the Abbey of Theleme, for 
which he takes care to provide not only a tilt-yard or 
theatre, but even " a natatory, with most admirable baths 
in three stages, situated one above another, well furnished 
with all necessary accommodations, and store of myrtle- 
water." 2 

In their hours of leisure the students who could afford 
such costly pastimes might indulge in tournaments and feats 
of martial skill — in hawking, hunting, gambling. Their 
poorer companions, when fate denied them the joys of a 
fight with the townsmen or with a rival ** nation," could 
spend their time in the taverns, drinking deeply, singing, 
or dicing. Even such homely sports as leap-frog, bowls, 
and foot-racing were not neglected. Rich and poor alike 
might perform in Latin dramas, mysteries and moralities, 
or crowd round the great hall fire on winter nights to listen 
to the seemly jests of their regents, to readings from the 
Vulgate, to the wonders of the world as recorded by such 
famous travellers as Odoric of Pordenone. The gay, 
half-pagan Carmina Burana and other student-songs of the 
type of Ergo hihamus and Ludo cum Ccecilia, which have 
descended to us from the Middle Ages instinct with youth 
and the joy of life, belong to an earlier age ; but the spirit 
they reflect was by no means dead among the irrepressible, 
irresponsible scholars of Paris in the sixteenth century. 

Buchanan, in one of his Latin poems, discourses upon the 
discomforts undergone by the shepherd of this unruly flock. 

" No sooner/' he writes, " has he stretched his limbs than the 
watchman announces that it is already the fourth hour. The din of 
the shrill alarm chases away dreams and reminds him that his rest 
is at an end. Hardly are things again quiet when five o'clock sounds^ 
and the porter rings his bell, calling the scholars to their task. Then, 
in all the majesty of cap and gown forth issues the master, the terror 

* Munimenta Universitatis Glasguensis, ed. C. Innes, Glasgow, 1854, 
vol. ii. p. 50. 

* Urquhaxt and Motteux' Rabelais, Bk. i. chap. Iv, 


of his charge, in his right hand the scourge, in his left perchance the 
works of the great Virgil. He seats himself, and shouts his orders till 
he is red in the face. And now be brings forth the harvest of his toil. 
He smoothes away difficulties, he corrects, he expunges, he changes 
the text, he brings to light the spoils which he has won by ceaseless 
study. Meanwhile his scholars, some of them, are sound asleep, 
others thinking of everything but their Virgil. One is absent, but has 
bribed his neighbours to answer to his name at roll-call. Another has 
lost his stockings. Another cannot keep his eye off a large hole in 
his shoe. One shams illness, another is writing letters to his parents. 
Hence the rod is never idle, sobs never cease, cheeks are never dry. 
Then the duties of religion make their call on us, then lessons once 
more, and once more the rod. Hardly an hour is spared for our meal. 
No sooner is it over than lessons again, and then a hasty supper. 
Supper past, we continue our labours into the night as if the day's 
tasks, forsooth, had not been sufficient. Why should I speak of our 
thousand humiliations ? Here, for example, comes the swarm of 
loafers from the city, till the street echoes with the noise of their 
pattens. In they scramble to listen as intelHgently as so many asses. 
They grumble that no placards announcing the scheme of lessons 
have been stuck on the street corners, they are indignant that the 
Doctrinal of Alexander is scornfully ignored by the master, and off 
they run to Montaigu or some other school more to their taste. Parents 
also grumble that the days pass by, that their sons learn nothing, and 
meanwhile the fees must be paid." ^ 

At Ste. Barbe Buchanan probably came in contact with 
three of the most notable men of his day. One was Calvin, 
as yet only on the threshold of his career. Another was 
Francis Xavier,^ a blue-eyed, tawny-haired Spanish Basque 
of twenty-two, who had forsworn the miHtary life to which 
his brothers were devoted, and had chosen, like his father 
Juan de Jasso, to follow more peaceful pursuits. Little is 
known for certain about the childhood and youth of the 
future Apostle of the Indies. According to a practice 
common at this period both in Spain and Portugal, he bore 
the name of his mother Maria, the sole heiress of the castles 

^ The translation given here is from Prof. P. Hume Brown's George 
Buchanan, Humanist and Reformer, Edinburgh, 1890. 

2 This is the usual English form of the name ; but Francis of Xavier 
would certainly be more correct, as Xavier is a place-name. Torsellino, 
Lucena and Francis himself write Francisco de Xavier or its equivalent, 
Franciscus Xaverius. 


and lands of Azpilqueta and Xavier, in the Spanish Basque 

The third was another Spaniard, a dark-skinned ascetic 
of thirty-seven years, whose unsurpassed powers of leader- 
ship and organization were still latent, though soon to be 
evoked and concentrated on the fulfilment of his dream — 
the formation of a missionary society which should win 
back the Holy Land for Christendom. Ignatius de Loyola 
was already famous, so that his compatriots in the Nether- 
lands held it a privilege to supply him with funds, and 
thus to enable him to carry out his plans, despite his vow of 
poverty. Seven years had passed since his whole horizon 
had been changed by reading the Lives of the Saints and 
Ludolf of Saxony's Life of Jesus, as he lay healing of the 
wound which he had received in the siege of Pamplona. 
In his hermitage at Manresa he had drawn strength from 
the vision of the Montserrat, the " mountain carved in 
flame " which Teutonic legend identified as the resting- 
place of the Holy Grail ; the ** mountain sawn asunder," 
which Spanish tradition declared to have been thus cloven 
at the Crucifixion, when the rocks were rent. Thencefor- 
ward he renounced solitude, true to the couplet which 
so well differentiates the attitude of the Society of Jesus 
to " the world," 

*' Bernardus valles, montes Benedictus amabat, 
Oppida Franciscus, magnas Ignatius urbes." 

At first the results of his freer intercourse with men and 
women proved not wholly successful. At Barcelona he 
was waylaid and left for dead by hired bravos. At Alcala 
de Henares he was cast into prison because some ladies 
of rank, inspired by his teaching, had set forth alone and 
penniless on a pilgrimage. Ignatius was also imprisoned 
at Salamanca, where he was suspected of inculcating new 
and strange doctrines. But in Paris he was welcomed for 
his learning and reputed saintliness. Francis Xavier for 
a time resisted the eloquence of his fellow-countryman — 
Ignatius was a native of the Basque Province of Guipiazcoa 
— but finally accepted his guidance with a whole heart. 


It is unnecessary here to describe the events of the seven 
years which witnessed the gradual evolution of the Society 
of Jesus in Paris. After Xavier and his fellow-student 
Peter Faber, Ignatius won over the Portuguese Simao 
Rodrigues, a native of Vinzella, who afterwards became the 
chronicler of these events and the head of the Jesuits in 
Portugal ; Diego Laynez, who won fame as a theologian 
at the Council of Trent ; Alfonso Salmer6n, Hebraist and 
commentator on the New Testament ; Nicolas Bobadilla, 
who was chosen before Xavier as " Apostle of the Indies," 
but was prevented by illness from undertaking the task. 
On the Feast of the Assumption 1534, this company took 
the vows of chastity and poverty in the Church of Notre 
Dame de Montmartre. Six years later, after many diffi- 
culties. Pope Paul III. signed the Bull Regimini militantis 
EcclesicB, in which he announced his approval of the Society 
of Jesus (27th September 1540). Of all European countries 
Portugal was the one most affected by that decision. 



WHILE the Jesuits were organizing for the defence 
of their Church, George Buchanan had ranged 
himself with its adversaries. After an honourable 
career at Paris, he had returned to Scotland in 1535, as 
tutor to the young Earl of Cassilis. He was already famous 
as a writer of barbed and polished Latin epigrams, and in 
Scotland he added to his reputation by the Somnium, a 
caustic paraphrase of Dunbar's poem ' How Dunbar was 
desyrit to be ane Fryer.' The Somnium so delighted 
King James V. that he appointed Buchanan tutor to his 
natural son, Lord James Stewart, and begged for more 
verse in the same strain. Buchanan's two Palinodia 
followed, but even these were not vitriolic enough, and the 
King asked for something which would " not merely prick 
the skin but probe the vitals." The Franciscanus fulfilled 
his amiable desire, and although this satire remained for 
many years in manuscript its contents became well enough 
known to provoke retaliation. A heresy-hunt was organized, 
and in February 1539 five Lutherans were burned in 
Edinburgh. The royal favour would certainly not have 
availed to preserve Buchanan from a like fate ; but he 
contrived to break away from his guards and made good 
his escape from Scotland. After sundry adventures he 
was appointed professor at the newly founded CoUege de 
Guyenne in Bordeaux, the principal of which was Andre 
de Gouvea, a nephew of that Diogo de Gouvea who had been 
head of Ste. Barbe while Buchanan was regent. 

The College de Guyenne was designed to supersede the 
old type of grammar-school. Its staff included some of 
^ See Appendix A, Special Bibliography, " George Buchanan." 



the most brilliant scholars of the day — erudite dreamers 
who hoped to create a new earth with the aid of classical 
literature, and had their doubts about the old heaven. In 
such a favourable environment Buchanan's talent could 
not fail to shine. Montaigne was his admiring pupil and 
in later life prided himself on the association with ' ce 
grand poete ecossois.' ^ Among Buchanan's friends were 
Elie Vinet, the mathematician, and that most fiery and 
fantastic of all the Humanists, JuHus Caesar Scaliger, 
whose son Joseph, at this time a mere child, lived to 
write Buchanan's epitaph, rounding it off with the neat 
couplet : — 

" Imperii fuerat Romani Scotia limes ; 
Romani eloquii Scotia limes erit ? " 

Buchanan's own pen was not allowed to rust. He 
translated the Medea and Alcestis into Latin, and composed 
the Jephthes and Baptistes, Latin dramas on the life of 
John the Baptist and on the story of Jephthah's daughter. 
These, according to Montaigne, were performed by the 
students *' with much dignity," and all went well until 
Buchanan came into conflict with the monks of St Anthony, 
who very properly enjoyed the privilege of free trade in 
pigs. When the monks filled their monastery with swine, 
regardless of their neighbours' nostrils but much to their 
own profit, the local magistracy protested, and Buchanan 
indited a brief ode on the offence. He drew a parallel 
between the pigs and their owners which cannot have 
enhanced his popularity in ecclesiastical circles ; and he 
found it prudent to absent himself from Bordeaux. ^ 

In 1547 he returned, having been invited to accompany 
Andre de Gouvea, Vinet and other old friends on a journey 
to Portugal. 

Two Portuguese friars, Jeronymo de Padilha and Jorge 
de Santiago, had visited the college at Bordeaux, and, 
on their return, seem to have described it to King John III. 

^ " Essay on Education." 

* About 1 542-1 547. The dates and incidents of his life at this period 
are obscure. 


as a model of all the academic virtues. The King deter- 
mined to import its most distinguished teachers wholesale 
into the university of which he was himself the official 
protector. Coimbra University, founded in 1290, had 
become the educational centre of the kingdom, hardly 
inferior to the monarchy itself as a symbol of national unity, 
and thus wholly dissimilar to the great Spanish universities, 
Salamanca, Zaragoza, or Barcelona, each of which repre- 
sented a province, not a nation. 

Four times already the university had changed its seat 
between Lisbon and Coimbra. In 1537 it was for the last 
time established in the quiet city beside the Mondego, 
much to the displeasure of its students, whose opportunities 
for breaking heads and statutes were curtailed by the 
change. Despite a generous allowance of royal and papal 
patronage, the university was not illiberal.^ Staff and 
students enjoyed many privileges, among them immunity 
from secular jurisdiction except when taken in certain 
grave crimes — to wit, homicide, wounding, theft, rapine, 
abduction of women and false coining. The last can hardly 
have been a common offence, even among undergraduates 
of the sixteenth century. 

Buchanan was doubtless overjoyed at the prospect of 
secure and congenial employment after years of wandering 
in peril and poverty. He thanked King John III. in a 
Latin epigram which almost anticipates the phrase ** an 
empire upon which the sun never sets " : — 

" Inque tuis Phoebus regnis, oriensque cadensque, 
Vix longum fesso conderet axe diem ; 
Et qusecumque vago se circumvolvit Olympo 
Affulget ratibus flamma ministra tuis." ^ 

With Buchanan eight other professors had left Bordeaux 
for Coimbra, among them being his friends Andre de 
Gouvea, Diogo de Teive and Joao da Costa. Andre de 

^ See below, chap, xxxiv. 

* " Within thy realms the Sun, with weary wheel, 

May rise and set, nor the long Day conceal ; 
Where'er he circles o'er the Olympian shores, 
Still on thy ships his faithful flame he pours." — H. Jacobs. 


Gouvea was appointed principal of the newly founded 
Royal College of Arts, in preference to his uncle Diogo, 
the former head of St Barbe, who bitterly and effectually 
resented the slight, even after Andre had died and Joao 
da Costa succeeded him. Diogo seems to have conspired 
with a certain Friar Joao de Pinheiro, who had been publicly 
flogged by Costa at Bordeaux, and therefore bore a grudge 
against one at least of the three friends, to swear an in- 
formation which should lead to the arrest of Costa, Buchanan 
and Teive by the Holy Office. A preliminary inquiry, 
held in Paris by order of the Cardinal Prince Henry, acting 
as Inquisitor-General, decided that there was ground for 
the apprehension of the accused. The inquiry ended in 
December 1549, t)ut it was not until the following August 
that Costa was arrested in Lisbon. Teive and Buchanan 
were invited to the Bishop of Coimbra's palace, and there 
detained while their rooms were searched. 

Nothing was found more compromising than a copy of 
the works of Clement Marot, belonging to Costa, and some 
books with notes or prefaces by Melanchthon, belonging 
to Buchanan. 

On the 15th of August, 1550, Costa and Buchanan were 
lodged in the prison of the Holy Office in Lisbon ; and 
three days later the trial began. Buchanan was accused 
of Judaistic and Lutheran tendencies. The first part of 
the indictment is easily understood ; Buchanan's piercing 
eyes, set widely apart, and his huge nose like the beak 
of a falcon, gave him an appearance extraordinarily Hebraic 
for one who had no Jewish blood in his veins. As for the 
charge of Lutheranism, it was backed by evidence to show 
that he had broken the law of the Church in word and act. 
On his own admission he had once at least " stumbled into 
Luther's fire " ; but his wonted attitude towards religion 
had hitherto been that of Erasmus, who accepted the 
doctrines of the Church while holding himself at liberty to 
criticize the clergy. 

Buchanan pleaded guilty on several counts and waived 
his right to employ counsel. Senhor G. J. C. Henriques 
has suggested that he was prompted to do so by one of 


the Inquisitors, possibly Jeronymo de Azambuja ^ (Hier- 
onymus Oleaster), famous as a Hebraist and notorious 
as an Inquisitor, and that some powerful influence was 
secretly at work in favour of the accused. John III. may 
have been anxious to save the men who had come to Coimbra 
at his invitation, and Azambuja may have been ordered 
to do his best for them. But even the King could not alter 
the findings of an ecclesiastical court. Buchanan knew that 
he was fighting for his life and that it behoved him to 
proceed warily : yet he showed no sign of alarm, and every 
now and then a gleam of his native irony lit up his answers 
to cross-examination. Asked what he thought of the 
monastic life, he replied that it was " good for those who 
could bear it.'* He denied having eaten the Passover 
Iamb, and added that there were no Jews in Scotland. As 
to Lutheranism he was candour itself, admitting that " when, 
in England, he heard some Catholic preacher, the faith of 
the Church seemed to him the right one, and when later on, 
he heard some Lutheran, the opinions of Luther seemed 
to him correct.'* 

He was urged to confess any other past iniquities he 
could recall, " because if he did so he would be received 
with much mercy." After a long interval he contrived to 
remember that he had eaten meat in Lent, though he 
excused himself for having once done so in Salamanca, on 
the ground that the only fish to be obtained was conger-eel 
— a doubtful delicacy in a city so far from the sea. 

At last, after the trial had dragged on for nearly a year, 
Buchanan made a formal renunciation of his errors on the 
29th of July 155 1. He had been found guilty of heretical 
opinions on the teaching of Luther, on Transubstantiation, 
Purgatory, Confession, the validity of Canon Law, the 
observance of Lent ; and he had presumed to maintain 
" that it was better to go straight to God than to the Saints." 

It was a long catalogue of deadly sins, and men had per- 
ished at the stake for less. But Buchanan was sentenced 
to the same punishment as his fellow-prisoners whose 
offences were lighter. All three were merely ordered to 

^ See on Azambuja, George Buchanan : a Memorial, pp. 77-7^- 


undergo a period of detention in a monastery. Buchanan 
performed his penance in the convent of Sao Bento, where 
he was doomed to listen to edifying Latin homilies composed 
by the monks. He found them, as he afterwards admitted, 
" not unkind but ignorant." 

There is no shadow of doubt that the Cardinal Prince 
was justified in ordering an inquiry into the administration 
of the Royal College. The sworn testimony of Costa 
revealed a surprising state of disorder and rivalry among 
the staff. Langlois, a Frenchman and a dismissed regent, 
had libelled his chief. Manoel de Mesquita, the chaplain, 
** was a perfect plague in the college." Master Belchior 
Beliagoa possessed so keen an invention that in Paris he 
had been known as the ' horse-dealer ' ; the Coimbra students 
called him Belial Beliagoa. Jorge de Sa carried a sword 
under his gown and declared that it was intended for use 
upon the principal. Master Antonio Caiado had acquired 
the nickname * Mouth of Hell.' Alvaro Lobato " who is 
now teaching Cato ^ to the boys " was wont to purchase 
the scholars' clothes, so that they might have money to 
gamble. He was their Father Confessor. 

It is at least clear that Costa, Buchanan and Teive were 
no martinets, and that the discipline of the Royal College 
of Arts was such as to invite inquiry. 

Buchanan remained in the convent of Sao Bento from 
the end of his trial until the 17th of December 1551. 
He was then permitted to reside in Lisbon, and on the 
28th of February 1552 he received his final discharge, with 
permission to go whither he chose and a final caution to 
associate for the future with good and pious Christians. 

His later career is irrelevant to the story of Portugal, 
and need only be sketched here in the briefest outline. 
In 1560, after revisiting France, he returned to his native 
land, and ranged himself definitely on the side of the Re- 
formers. He was appointed tutor to Queen Mary, who 
read Livy with him and granted him a pension. But after 
the murder of Bothwell he became one of her bitterest 
opponents and contributed to her downfall through his 

^ See below, chap, xxxiv. 


DetecHo, a masterpiece of rhetorical invective, published 
in 1571. 

He shared in the reorganization of Scottish education 
by the Reformers, and for eight years (1570-8) supervised 
the studies of the youthful Prince James Stuart, who lived 
to be King of England and " the wisest fool in Christendom." 
Though a layman, Buchanan was elected Moderator of the 
General Assembly ; he also held office as Director of 
Chancery and Keeper of the Privy Seal. But the chief 
labour of his later years was the composition of his De Jure 
Regni apud Scotos, in which he laid down the novel doctrine 
that tyrants might lawfully be deposed by their people, 
and of his Rerum Scoticarum Historia, which was intended 
to give the true annals of his country, purged ** of sum 
Inglis lyis & Scottis vanite." He was always poor and 
often in debt. His ' singular friend ' Sir Thomas Randolph ^ 
urged him to take a wife, but Buchanan refused to 
hazard his peace among '' the tempestuous stermes & 
naufrage of mariage," an estate which he described in 
terms more forcible than civil. 

James Melville has left a striking account of a visit he 
paid to Buchanan in 158 1. With him were his uncle 
Andrew Melville, and the great man's cousin, Thomas 
Buchanan : — 

" When we came to his chalmer^ we fand him sitting in his chaire, 
teatching his young man that servit in his chalmer to spell a, b, ab ; 
e, b, eb, etc. . . . 

" ' Better this/ quoth he, * nor stelling sheipe, or sitting ydle, qhuilk 
is als ill' . . . 

" We cam to Mr. George again, & fund him bedfast by ^ his custome, 
and asking him, whow he did, * Even going the way of weilfare,' 
sayes he. Mr. Thomas, his cusing, schawes him of the hardnes of that 
part of his Storie, that the King wald be offendit with it, and it might 
stey all the wark. 

" ' Tell me, man,' sayes he, ' giff I have tauld the treuthe ? ' 

" ' Yis,' sayes Mr. Thomas, ' sir, I think sa.' 

1 Buchanan's only surviving letters in the vernacular, two in number, 
are addressed to this Randolph, who was Queen Elizabeth's agent at the 
Scottish Court. 

2 /.<?. ' contrary to.' 





" ' I will byd his fead/ and all his Kins, then/ quoth he : ' Pray, 
pray to God for me, & let him direct all.' " ^ 

The anecdote is characteristic not of Buchanan alone, 
but of the whole spirit which made the Reformation. 

In September 1582 George Buchanan died. 

His ' notable Portuguese expedition/ as he calls it in 
a letter to Vinet, was unimportant in itself. Yet it shows 
in sharp contrast the principles which were at issue between 
Humanism and the Church. Although the orthodox 
Catholic positions had never as yet been openly challenged 
in Portugal, a century of maritime exploration had given 
birth to the scientific spirit and taught men to inquire 
where the Church demanded unquestioning faith. An 
earnest and strictly orthodox minority had watched with 
dismay the spread of heretical doctrines in Northern Europe, 
and feared that their own countrymen might also be lured 
to abandon the creed of their fathers. Quite logically, 
they concentrated their attack on the critical movement 
out of which the demand for reform had arisen ; and the 
weapons they employed were the Inquisition and the 
Society of Jesus. 

* I.e. abide his feud. 

• Mr James MelvilVs Diary, Edinburgh, 1829. 



BUCHANAN'S trial reveals only the best side of the 
Inquisition ; it is necessary to scan the reverse of 
the picture more closely, if one would comprehend 
the gradual decUne of the Portuguese nation in the latter 
half of the sixteenth century. 

The first Auto-da-Fe was held in Lisbon on the 20th of 
September 1540, seven years before the establishment of 
the Holy Office was finally sanctioned by the Pope : — 

*' A mournful procession formed outside the palace of the 
Inquisition, and marched down to the Praga da Ribeira, 
a wide square close to the Tagus, where the ceremony was to 
take place. The charcoal-burners, whose duty it was to 
tend the fires, led the way, armed with pikes and match- 
locks. Then, behind a lifted crucifix, came the Dominican 
friars, each carrying a black cross and wearing a white habit 
and scapulary. They bore the standard of the Inquisition, 
a silken banner upon which was embroidered the figure of 
St Peter, holding in one hand the sword of vengeance, in the 
other an olive-branch : Justitia et Misericordia. The friars 
were followed by various persons of quality, on foot, and 
by the familiars of the Inquisition — clad in black and white 
liveries, and carrying crosses of black and white thinly 
edged with gold. Next the prisoners, in single file ; the 
dead first and then the living, classified according to the 
sentence of the tribunal as * confessed, negative, im- 
penitent, contumacious, relapsed,' or whatever else might 
be the precise degree of their guilt. 

" From long poles resembling flagstaves dangled the 
fantastically robed effigies of all the condemned who were 
absent, including those already dead — these poles being 



held upright by a company of executioners so completely 
enveloped in their cloaks and cowls of rough black serge 
that only the eyes and mouth remained visible. Whenever 
the figure represented a corpse, it was followed by another 
executioner carrying a black box on which devils and flames 
were portrayed. This contained the bones of the dead 
malefactor, to be flung into the fire at the feet of his effigy. 

" The Uving marched behind the dead, in an order of 
precedence determined by the gravity of their offences, 
the least guilty leading the way. One by one they filed 
onward, each with his advocate, or, if doomed to the fire, 
his Dominican confessor, at his elbow. The men wore long 
tunics striped with black and white, the women — for no 
distinction of sex was observed — flowing dresses of the same 
colour and material, and all walked barefooted, with lighted 
candles in their hands, and halters about their necks. 

" Such as had repented or confessed were attired in the 
sanibenito, a kind of white chasuble with the cross of St 
Andrew worked in red on the breast and sides : their 
heads were uncovered. Those upon whom sentence of 
death by fire had been passed, but remitted, were clad in 
the samarra, a grey chasuble, and the carocha, a tall mitre 
of pasteboard ; both garments were bedizened with tongues 
of flame — inverted, to signify the narrow escape of the 
wearer. No variation of garb marked the difference between 
prisoners doomed to perish at the stake and those con- 
demned only to be burned after strangulation. ^ Both 
classes wore the carocha and samarra, on which their names 
and crimes were blazoned and their persons depicted in the 
midst of aspiring red flames stoked by sable fiends. 

" The halberdiers of the Inquisition brought; up the rear 
of this long procession, escorting the mounted officials of 
the supreme council — judges, qualificators,^ reporters, and 
various underlings to complete the cavalcade. From every 
church tower sounded the ponderous tolling of bells. 

" As the helpless victims filed through the streets, a surging 

1 The Holy Office never authorized bloodshed. 
^^^ Whose business it was to prepare causes for the tribunal and especially 
to examine all books before publication. 


multitude assailed them with coarse insults and volleys 
of mud or stones ; but the Pra9a da Ribeira was guarded 
by a cordon of troops, who prevented the mob from invading 
the enclosure set apart for the Auto. Here, grouped by 
themselves on one side, stood sundry rectangular piles of 
wood, each with a stake planted in the midst and a chair 
beside the stake. The centre of the square was filled by 
a stage, on which two blocks of seats had been erected, 
those on the left being occupied by King John III., with 
his Queen and Court, while on the right sat his brother 
Prince Henry, the Cardinal and Inquisitor General, on a 
canopied throne flanked by the chairs reserved for other 
members of the Holy Tribunal. 

" The altar, its front draped in black, rose in the middle of 
the stage. Before it, the standard of the Inquisition was 
set on a pedestal ; on one side stood the pulpit, on the other 
a table — littered with papers and pendent seals — for the 
use of the reporters who were to read the sentences. Below 
the stage stood the condemned, ranged in lines to face the 
pulpit, the altar, the tribunal. 

" Mass was said. The Inquisitor General, robed in mitre 
and cope, handed a volume of the Gospels to the King, 
bidding him swear on them to defend the faith. King 
John III. and all his courtiers, standing bare-headed, took 
the solemn oath in all sincerity. A sermon followed ; and 
last of all the sentences were read, beginning with the 
lesser crimes. 

" The adoration of images — a question treated as debate- 
able even by Church Councils ^ — had caused many to fall 
into error. Some were there for refusing to kiss the guardian 
saints of the money-boxes with which the friars went from 
door to door, seeking alms. Some for irreverence, others 
for misunderstanding the precepts of the canon law ; many 
for nothing at all ; the majority, because they had been 
denounced by some malignant or covetous informer. The 

^ One of the merits of the Society of Jesus, the great ally and rival of 
the Inquisition, was that in accordance with the doctine of Probabilism 
it dealt mercifully with such offences, absolving penitents if even one 
recognized authority could be cited in support of their error. 


reporters read on, amid groans and cries from some of the 
condemned, though others exulted at the prospect of an 
escape from prison and torture, and secretly resolved for 
the future to pursue a course of the strictest hypocrisy. 

" The death-sentences came last. There were three 
women convicted of witchcraft ; two men, New Christians, 
who had relapsed into Judaism ; and a third man, guilty 
of sorcery. 

" The reporter continued his passionless recital of the 
sentences, in which the particulars of each crime were set 
forth. The New Christians had eaten unleavened bread. 
One of them, while sweeping his house, had blasphemed 
against a crucifix, made mouths at it, and scratched it 
whenever his broom struck the floor. These charges 
were wrapped up in awe-inspiring phrases and tremendous 
generaHties, so that the courtiers, clergy and people 
thrilled, as they listened, with hatred of the sacrilegious 

*' The charges of sorcery caused no less horror. New 
Christians and wizards, whose weapons were malediction 
and the evil eye, were well known to be the cause of plague, 
famine and shipwreck in the Indian Seas. On the heads 
of these unfortunate beings fell the curses of a stricken 
nation. Nobody doubted the reality of the offences, 
proved, as they were, by a multitude of witnesses. The 
devil had appeared to one of the accused and taught him 
to work cures by black magic. He had bled his patients 
in the forehead, with pins . . . one prick, and the spell 
was complete. * In the name of Jesus, heal the prick 
and break the spell ' — such had been the appeal heard by 
a priest of the province of Beira : and the devils had avenged 
themselves by breaking into the priest's house and smashing 
all his crockery. Here was something quite novel : and 
the people shuddered as they stared at the doctor, whose 
insanity could be read in his face. 

" The witches were visited by the devil : in the semblance 
of a black cat, during the day, and by night ' in the human 
form of a little man * ; so the sentence gravely affirmed, 
quoting the depositions of eye-witnesses. Witch and 


devil fared forth in company to a river where they were 
joined by others like themselves ; and after bathing in- 
dulged in a hideous orgy.i The sentence enumerated all 
the obscene and abominable details, which were at once 
seized by the corrupt minds of court and populace, and 
made a topic of conversation. At daybreak on the next 
Sabbath the witches became invisible, and stole into the 
houses of the devout and respectable families it was their 
delight to plague. 

" The reading ended, the penitents received absolution, 
and the New Christians and votaries of the black art were 
handed over to the secular arm, to be burned. King John 
withdrew, accompanied by the Inquisitor General and his 
courtiers ; and the tolling of the bells continued, slow 
and funereal. 

"The charcoal-burners, grasping their weapons, the hooded 
executioners, and the white-robed friars, crucifix in hand, 
drew near to the criminals they were to burn. Round the 
rectangular pyres the crowd packed closer, staring with 
eager eyes ; their heads filled with rage against the male- 
factors who had caused so much misery. 

** All save the sorcerer died a merciful death by strangula- 
tion before they were committed to the flames. But the 
physician, whose guilt had been more deadly, was doomed 
to be burned alive. . . . 

" He afforded the mob three full hours of exquisite sport." ^ 

Autos-da-Fe were rare events, and the harm wrought by 
the Inquisition cannot be measured merely by the cruelties 
it authorized on such occasions. Far worse were the 
delation and terrorism it encouraged by paying informers 
out of the property of their victims ; its activity as a 
trading and landowning community able and ready to 

^ Some curious remarks on this superstition will be found in the first 
part of Sir Thomas Browne's Religio Medici. 

* The foregoing is based on the account of the Auto given in Oliveira 
Martins' Historia de Portugal, vol. ii. pp. 35-39. I have interpolated a 
few explanatory words, added footnotes and omitted one or two sentences. 
The whole passage is well worth reading in the original Portuguese : 
Oliveira Martins was a master of historical impressionism, whose work 
necessarily loses much in a translation. 


ruin any competitor ; its constitutional position as an 
imperium in imperio, practically independent of Kings and 
Popes ; and its use of the Censorship and Index Expurga- 
torius to paralyse thought. ^ 

* Details will be found in Historia da Origem e Estahelecimento da In- 
quisicdo em Portugal, by A. Herculano, Lisbon, 1897 (First Edition 1854- 
1857) ; and A Inquisifdo em Portugal by C. J. de Menezes, Oporto, 1893. 
Claude Dellon's vivid Relation de V inquisition de Goa, Paris, 1688 (English 
translation. The History of the Inquisition at Goa, London, 1688), though 
written in the seventeenth century, is largely true of the sixteenth. 



IT was widely held among the Portuguese that the 
civilized Indians would be a more valuable acquisition 
to the Church than the barbarous tribes of Africa. 
East of the Cape almost every enterprise of the early 
missionaries was directed in accordance with this view. 
Even the Portuguese settlements on the African seaboard 
were often destitute of a chaplain ; no attempt was made 
to convert the Hottentots or Bushmen ; and it was not 
until 1560 that the first mission was sent to the Bantu. 
This was undertaken by D. Gongalo da Silveira, a Jesuit 
of noble birth and a friend of Camoes, at the request of a 
chief named Gamba, whose son had visited Goa and become 
a Christian. 

Silveira and his companions received an almost em- 
barrassing welcome. Gold dust, cattle and female slaves 
were pressed upon them and not only Gamba 'but the 
Monomotapa or Paramount Chief himself consented to 
be baptized, while their subjects hailed the new rehgion 
with loyal enthusiasm. But the hospitable instincts of the 
Monomotapa were severely tested when he learned that 
baptism implied the renunciation of polygamy. Even a 
largesse of beads and calico could not obliterate the effect 
of this covert attack upon an immemorial and valued 
privilege ; and at last, growing weary of novelties, the 
Monomotapa allowed himself to be convinced by Muslim 
refugees that Silveira was a wizard. The missionary was 
ordered to depart on pain of death, and replied fearlessly, 
by baptizing fifty more of the Bantu. Accordingly on 
the 1 6th of March 1561, he was martyred. His surviving 
comrade. Father Andre Femandes, was subsequently 


recalled to Goa, and thus the first attempt to preach Chris- 
tianity in East Africa ended in a not ignoble failure. 

India, meanwhile, could not complain of neglect. Goa 
had been made an episcopal see by a Bull of Pope Paul III., 
issued in November 1534, and its first Bishop, D. Joao de 
Albuquerque, had arrived with D. Joao de Castro four 
years later. His vast, undefined diocese included every 
settlement east of the Cape in which Roman CathoUcs or 
Nestorians were to be found — an arrangement not altogether 
welcomed by the Nestorians.^ Even before his arrival, 
priests, monks and friars had flocked to Portuguese India. 
While Affonso de Albuquerque Hved, there was little to be 
feared from this concourse ; the Governor had a crisp 
way of dealing with clerics who sought to usurp civil power. 
On one occasion, when he had promoted a number of 
informal weddings between his veterans and some captured 
Indian women, the priests objected that the parties were 
not married in accordance with the rites of the Church. 
" They are married by the rites of Affonso de Albuquerque," 
responded the Governor, and no further challenge was issued. 

But after his death a distinct ecclesiastical party arose, 
and as it grew in power it interfered in financial and ad- 
ministrative matters, and even in foreign policy. There 
was constant danger of an ecclesiastical dictatorship. 
Simao Botelho complained in 1552 to the King, that the 
treasury was depleted for alms, and whole towns emptied 
by the forced conversion of Hindus and Muslims. ^ The 
nature of this propaganda may be inferred from the 
fact that, in Goa, every " Gentile " was driven to church 
once a fortnight, and compelled to listen to a sermon 
of one hour's duration on the beauties of a Christian 

Apart from the secular clergy, three fraternities, the 
Franciscans, Dominicans, and Jesuits were forward in 
sending missionaries to the East. In methods and to some 

^ The doctrine and liturgy of the Nestorians were finally condemned 
at the synod of Diamper (Udayamperur near Cochin) in 1599. The 
proceedings of the synod will be found in Ar. Port. Or., part 4. 

* Botelho, Cartas. Letter 4. 


extent in aims the three societies widely differed. Each 
still to some extent lived up to the ideals of its originator. 

The Franciscans, who came to India with Cabral, had 
learned from their founder to appeal directly to the poor, 
to bring religion into lives full of ignorance and suffering ; 
and to interpret it in terms of joy rather than in terms of 
duty. The Canticle of the Sun, with its dehght in all 
created things, was still their text-book : even in the 
sixteenth century joy was the essence of their creed. Diego 
de Estella, a Franciscan whom Philip II. of Spain chose to 
be his intimate spiritual adviser, echoes the Canticle of the 
Sun in his Meditaciones del Amor de Dios, and throughout 
insists not upon the wickedness of the world, as most of 
his contemporaries would have insisted, but upon its reflected 
glory as the mirror of God. His book is one of many 
witnesses which show that representative Franciscans 
remained faithful to the beliefs of their founder. It would, 
however, be imprudent to infer that all members of the 
fraternity who came to India were saints and poets. 

If, in general, the Franciscans brought religion as a gift 
to their equals, the Dominicans approached men in a 
different mood. :» They came to teach their inferiors, not 
to share their most precious possession with friends and 
brothers. It would be grossly unfair to exaggerate this 
aspect of their missions, or to deny that they learned 
wiUingly from their own converts. On occasion they 
emulated the Jesuits, who adopted the forms of Confucian- 
ism in China or Sivaism in India for the furtherance of their 
aims and in despite of papal condemnation. In this spirit 
the Dominicans countenanced the simple practice of the 
Guatemalan Indians, who burned two tapers before the 
image of St George — one for the dragon. In the same 
spirit they interwove Christian legends with pagan ritual, 
and turned the barbaric dances and sacrificial orgies of the 
Central American Mayas into very passable miracle-plays, 
in which Tamerlane, Charlemagne and St Peter figured — 
in wooden masks and feather mantles — along with the de- 
throned native deities. 

A number of Dominicans came out to Goa in 1548, with 


power to buy land and found a convent. They devoted 
themselves to the most miserable class under Portuguese 
rule — the slaves, who were branded like oxen, but in other 
respects were not so well treated as the more expensive 
beasts of burden. The Dominicans did their utmost to 
lighten the lives of these unfortunates, but were unable to 
accomplish very much.^ 

On many shores they proved themselves skilful leaders 
and rulers of unsophisticated peoples, who might need 
firm guidance. But their rule and creed must be un- 
questioned ; and Portugal and India were not unsophisti- 
cated. Here from the first the Dominicans had been cele- 
brated for their stern enforcement of orthodoxy. It was 
not their fault that the establishment of the Inquisition 
in India was delayed until 1560, though it had been author- 
ized in 1543, after a bachelor of medicine named Jeronymo 
Dias had been strangled and publicly burned for heresy.^ 
It was a Dominican who refused Simao Botelho absolution 
because that officer had reformed the custom-houses at 
Malacca and Bassein — under orders from the Governor, 
it is true, but without previously consulting the Pope, or 
the Dominicans. 

When the Jesuits came out to India in 1542, their organiza- 
tion — " a sword with its hilt in Rome and its point every- 
where '* — had not yet been wrought and tempered to its 
final perfection. But their energy, their loyalty to a 
corporate ideal, and their genius for self-sacrifice soon 
became obvious. They did splendid work as medical 
missionaries,^ but education was their chief secular interest 
and most potent weapon. They cast aside all conventual 
restraints which might impede their activities, and ulti- 
mately differed from the Franciscans and Dominicans as 
a secret society differs from a monastic order. Throughout 
India they were known as the " fathers of St Paul," from 
their headquarters, the training college of St Paul (originally 
the Franciscan college of Santa Fe) in Goa. 

^ Correa, vol. iv. p. 669 seq. ' Correa, vol. iv. p. 292. 

3 The royal hospital in Goa became world-famous under their manage- 
ment (c. 1591-1650) ; Fonseca, pp. 228-236. 


The three fraternities did not always work together in 
harmony. The letters of Francis Xavier bear eloquent 
testimony to the bitterness of these conflicts, though they 
counsel peace, and warn all Jesuits to maintain an attitude 
of benevolent neutrality. In one case Xavier even suggests 
that a neophyte who had proved himself unworthy to enter 
the Society of Jesus would find suitable quarters among 
the followers of St Francis or St Dominic ; it is not known 
if the gift was accepted with proper gratitude. 

The regular and secular clergy were quite as often at 
loggerheads.^ When the Dominicans came to Goa in 1548, 
they brought a skull of one of the Eleven Thousand Virgins, 
which proved its authenticity by stopping a leak on the 
voyage. The sacred relic was accorded a magnificent 
reception, and conveyed to its shrine by a procession of 
monks and friars. But the secular clergy, from the Bishop 
downwards, scandahzed the populace by holding aloof out 
of jealousy. 

Despite the mutual antipathies of the religious, despite 
the evil lives led by so many of them, and despite their 
almost unbroken unanimity in support of ** preaching by 
the sword," there were many brave and noble spirits among 
them. Such was D. Jeronymo Osorio da Fonseca, Bishop 
of Silves, who earned remembrance as a champion of the 
persecuted Jews, and as the author of a history of King 
Manoel's reign. Living at a time when the Holy Office 
was no respecter of persons, even though they wore a mitre 
and wielded a pastoral staff, Osorio had the courage and 
breadth of mind openly to condemn the whole theory of 
religious persecution. 

In the Indies there were priests as brave, who led their 
flocks to battle, with upHfted crucifix, and, in the words 
of Faria y Sousa, " banished the fear of death with the 
emblem of life." Such a cleric was D. Diogo Mergulhao, 
who headed a storming party in Albuquerque's attack on 
Aden. The brave chaplain carried a cross lashed to a 
spear, and when he was forced to retire, wounded in six 

^ See the extraordinary documents reproduced on pp. 455-6 of Andrade 
(ed. of 1835). 


places, he still bore it gallantly under an arm that was 
pinned to his side by two arrows. So too, in 1559, a 
Franciscan named Christovao de Castro refused to leave 
a sinking ship when all the officers had crowded into the 
only boat and were urging him to join them : '' these two 
hundred souls are more precious than my poor life," he 
answered, and went down with the rest. A similar devotion 
to duty was shown forty years afterwards by a Dominican, 
Nicolau do Rosario, in the wreck of the Sao Thome, off 
Madagascar. Yet another cleric, of whose ready wit one 
would gladly know more, proved by example and precept 
how well he could keep his head in a crisis. When a cannon- 
ball decapitated a soldier by his side, he began, in a loud 
voice, to intone the verse Humiliate Deo capita. But the 
greatest of all the ecclesiastics who laboured in India under 
the Portuguese flag was indisputably the Jesuit Francis 
Xavier, who went out to Goa in 1542. 



J^OA DOURADA, " Golden Goa," as it was popularly 
w -w- called, was already the capital of Portuguese India, 
^"^^ the seat of the viceregal court, the military and 
naval headquarters, the central mart for all the produce 
of the East. It enjoyed the same civic rights as Lisbon 
itself ; and as the centre from which the spiritual affairs 
of all the Christians scattered over the shores of the Indian- 
Ocean were directed, it was now to become almost an 
Oriental Rome. A first sight of its vigorous ecclesiastical 
life kindled the ready enthusiasm of Francis Xavier. 

" It has a college of Franciscans/' he wrote, " really very numerous, 
a magnificent cathedral with a large number of canons, and several 
other churches. There is good reason for thanking God that the 
Christian religion flourishes so much in this distant land in the midst 
of heathen." 

The words occur in a letter addressed to the Society of 
Jesus in Rome, and dated the i8th of September 1542 ; 
Francis had landed in India on the 6th of May. A closer 
acquaintance caused him to modify his estimate of Goanese 

The character of the Portuguese in India had already 
begun to deteriorate, although society in the capital had 
not yet sunk to the depth it ultimately reached. Xavier 

' The following account of Goa is based largely on the works of travellers 
who visited the city some years after Xavier — in particular Linschoten 
{1583), Pyrard (1608), and Mocquet {1608). But the anachronism is 
more apparent than real, because the conditions out of which Goanese 
society grew — slave-labour, the tropical climate, the influence of Oriental 
ideas, etc. — were precisely the same in both periods : and all the recorded 
evidence tends to prove that the main features of that society had already 
become stereotyped at least as early as 1550. 



condemns several of the malpractices common among 
oiTicials and merchants, such as the custom of withholding 
payments due from the State until its creditors were only 
too glad to compound for a smaller payment in cash. The 
** sharks of the Treasury " would then draw the whole 
amount due, pay over whatever the creditors would accept 
as a settlement in full, and pocket the balance. But the 
officials and traders, financiers and money-lenders, who 
waxed fat on these ingenious forms of enterprise were by no 
means the most conspicuous element in the population. 
That distinction belongs rather to the motley crowd of 
adventurers, professional soldiers and sailors, who might 
be encountered at any hour swaggering through the streets 
or lounging in the wine-shops, with nothing to do except 
to spend their loot and prize-money, or steal when these 
resources ran dry. They were a picturesque and turbulent 
folk — bronzed and bearded veterans with earrings in their 
ears and knives in their girdles — fearless and careless, 
steeped in a hundred vices, but full of a rough pride in their 
religion which would cause a man to violate half the decalogue 
in order to avenge a slur on his patron saint. With bravos 
of this type Francis Xavier loved to consort on his voyages, 
much to their delight and to the scandal of respectable 
citizens. But they and their officers were ill-fitted for 
civilian life. Idleness sapped their virtues and fostered 
their defects, until, in time of peace, it became difficult 
to recognize any kinship between the heroes of Diu and 
the indolent, dissolute crew which now made Goa a byword 
for its bizarre vices. 

Every fortune-hunter who landed in India began by claim- 
ing the rank of fidalgo and prefixing dom to his name ; for the 
rich men who hired palaces and imported wives from Lisbon, 
and their poorer neighbours who were forced to be content 
with boarding-houses and local talent, were fully agreed 
upon the merits of long descent. It was rarely that a 
fidalgo would condescend to puzzle his brains with the 
intricacies of trade, unless all the hard work could be dele- 
gated to commoners, or better still, to slaves. 

In the hothouse atmosphere of Goa an exotic taste for 


display soon took root and flourished. When the sun was 
low each fidalgo who could afiford a horse and jewelled 
harness hung with bells and trinkets of gold or silver, would 
ride forth in state, to be admired from discreetly curtained 
lattices. A retinue of liveried slaves would accompany 
the cavalier, to carry his indispensable armoury of umbrellas 
and inlaid weapons. So, stiff and splendid in silk, brocade 
and armour, he would prance through the city. The lesser 
nobiUty of the boarding-houses, unable singly to purchase 
this attractive outfit, would share the glory and the cost, so 
that each subscriber in turn could take the air in gorgeous 
attire, under the shade of an umbrella carried by his 
attendant ad hoc. 

This ceremony had a serious rival in the gambling saloons, 
where determined players would sometimes take permanent 
quarters. Dice, cards, chess — played for money — or a 
main of cocks were not the only forms of sport practised 
here. Conjurers, musicians, dancing-girls, wrestlers, clowns 
and actors helped to pass the time, and besides arrack, 
palm-wine and other potent liquors brewed in India, the 
fine vintages of Portugal, could be obtained at a price 
commensurate with the six months' voyage from Lisbon to 
Goa. But drunkenness was extremely rare. 

The attitude of the priests towards gambling was not 
unduly austere. It is told of Francis Xavier that, on the 
voyage from Mailapur to Malacca in 1545, he stood for 
some time watching a card-party at which a certain soldier 
lost all his own money and a large sum entrusted to his 
care. The soldier was in despair and threatened suicide, 
when Xavier brought him fifty reis (is. 2d.), borrowed from 
a friend, and bade him try afresh. The saint himself 
shuffled and dealt, the other players being presumably too 
much astonished to protest. Thus encouraged, the soldier 
soon recovered all he had lost, and was proceeding towards 
further conquests, when Xavier intervened and persuaded 
him to forswear gambling for ever. It is recorded that 
the soldier kept his vow ; but the whole anecdote is excluded 
from the official Hst of miracles. 

European ladies, though rare enough to be prized beyond 

>•».». *». 

X t 


their deserts, were more numerous in Goa than elsewhere 
in the East ; for here could be found all the comforts which 
money could buy, and the money to buy them. But in 
practice the zenana life of the Hindu women threatened 
their Portuguese sisters. The consort of a fidalgo could 
not stoop to lower household duties than slave-driving. 
Art and Hterature, professional and administrative work, 
were reserved for her lord and master, and life tended to 
resolve itself into a passive endurance of the torrid climate 
in a magnificent but insanitary palace. Church processions 
or military pageants like the triumph of D. Joao de Castro 
afforded their chief amusement to the Portuguese ladies, 
who then as now were bom sight-seers. Their lattices 
were glazed with thin and highly polished oyster-shells, 
but special peep-holes were left, through which the inquisitive 
beauties could see every passer-by, without being themselves 
exposed to the stare of the vulgar. Open windows, curtained 
with strings of beads, often took the place of the lattices. 

The streets, with their varied and brilliant show of fashion, 
and the even more alluring haunts of the gamblers, were 
closed to decent women ; and although the dames of Goa 
often freed themselves from this disquahfication, public 
and maritcd censure still exercised some measure of restraint. 
It is not wonderful that many of the fidalgas grew tired 
of scandal, quarrels, and the few social pleasures conceded 
to them, and sought variety in stolen kisses. That they did 
so with surprising zest and audacity is proved by the 
testimony of many witnesses. To gain applause from a 
circle of expert friends it was necessary to transcend the 
commonplaces of successful intrigue. No novice could 
win celebrity merely by losing her reputation. The heroine 
of a scandal must show some originality and spice it with 
danger — drug her husband with datura, for example, and 
entertain her cavalier under his unconscious nose.^ The 
husbands repaid the compliment of infidelity with interest, 

^ " The man," says Linschoten of this drug, " sitteth with his eyes 
open, not doing or saying any thing, but laugh or grin, like a foole, or 
a man out of his wits : and when the time cometh that he reviveth out 
of his trance, he knoweth nothing that was done, but thinketh that he 
had slept." Vol. ii. p. 69. 


though this did not prevent them from being inordinately 
jealous, and setting confidential slaves to watch their 
wives — a futile device, which only enabled the slaves to 
draw pocket-money from both master and mistress. 

Many, however, and perhaps the majority, of the Portu- 
guese merchants and officers were too poor, too prudent, or 
too lacking in consideration for their friends, to marry 
white wives. They lived instead with Hindu, Muslim, 
or Jewish women, whose children were frequently brought 
up in the faith of their mothers. The principle upon which 
Francis dealt with these unions is described by Torsellino 
in a curious passage : — 

" First he went about to winne them by all courteous meanes ; 
then^ as he met them in the streets, he would merily request them 
to invite a poore priest to their ordinary fare ; which they willingly 
accepted of. He now sitting at table, would before, or at their repast, 
intreat his host to cause his children to be called : whereupon the 
litle children comming presently at their father's cal, Francis would 
take them up into his armes^ and hug them to his bosome, thanking 
God who had given the Father such children for the hope of his family, 
and withall would pray God to give them a good and holy life. Then 
would he desire that their mother might be called (a thing which in 
another would have bin temerity, but his Sanctity easily excused it). 
When she was come, he would speake sweetly unto her, and commend 
her beauty to his host, thereby to draw him to take her to his wife, 
saying that doubtlesse she was of an excellent disposition and lovely 
countenance, so that she might well be accounted a Portughese, that 
the children which he had by her were certainly worthy of a Portughese 
to their father. . . . But if by chance he lighted upon any one who 
had by some ill-favoured Indian-womsm children like unto herselfe, 
then as conceiving great indignation therat, he would cry out, ' Good 
God ! what a monster have we here ! Do you keep a Diuel in your 
howse ? Can you keep company with this ugly beast ? Can you 
have children by her ? Follow my counsail : drive this monster, 
this prodigious creature, presently out of your howse, and seeke you 
a wife worthy of your selfe.' So in putting away his mistress, he 
.married a wife." ^ 

' Francis went to and fro through the city, swinging a 
bell, and calling upon the people to send their children 
to be baptized. On Sundays and festivals he preached in 

* Torsellino, pp. 107-109 of the translation of 1632. 


the morning to all who would listen, in the afternoon to 
natives, bond or free. His charm and enthusiasm soon 
awakened an answering ardour in his hearers. " If I could 
be in ten different places at once," he wrote to the Society 
in Rome, " I should never lack penitents." Much of his 
time was given to the inmates of the prison and of the 
leper-hospital outside the walls, but he also contrived to 
keep in touch with the Bishop and the Governor, thus 
becoming acquainted with every class before he undertook 
his paramount duty — the organization of missions through- 
out the East. 

His popularity was not likely to be diminished by the 
plea for certain indulgences which he addressed through 
Ignatius to the Pope. " Of all the nations I have seen," 
he wrote privately, " the Portuguese is the one which 
seems to me to go furthest in prizing indulgences from Rome, 
and to be the most drawn to the sacraments by such means." ^ 
One request of this nature, preferred to Francis by the 
Governor, was for an alteration in the season of Lent. 
In the spring months fish began to rot as soon as they died, 
and it was therefore difficult to observe the fast. The 
Pope was asked " to change, if it be possible, the time of 
Lent in these parts to the months of June and July, when 
the heat begins to abate, and there is much less navigation, 
on account of the roughness of the sea." This concession 
was not granted. 

Xavier now took the first step towards the establishment 
of an organized system of conversion. A college had been 
founded at Goa for the instruction of native boys from 
every part of India, who were destined to serve as priests, 
catechists, or interpreters. The college was intended for 
the use of the Franciscan Confraternity of Santa Fe, who 
were the pioneers 'of Christian teaching among the Hindus. 
Its endowment was furnished by a simple and ancient 
device. In 1540 all the temples on the island were destroyed 
by order of the King, and in 1541 not only their lands but 
also the allotments set aside for the maintenance of the 
village carpenters, blacksmiths and other artisans who 
1 Letter of Oct. i8th 1543. 


served the community as a whole, were appropriated by 
the Church. The consent of the headmen to this act of 
robbery was easily procured, since a refusal might have 
entailed some greater disaster ; and the villagers were 
impressively assured in an official document that they 
would be rewarded a hundredfold for their self-denial.^ 
The funds thus procured were devoted to the upkeep of the 
college, which was opened with much ceremony on the 
25th of January 1543, the day of the conversion of St Paul, 
to whom it was dedicated. Francis was not present at 
the opening, for in the autumn of 1542 he had set sail for 
a new sphere of labour. He had, however, arranged that 
the college should be transferred from the Franciscans to 
the Jesuits. 

^ Printed in Ar. Port. Or., part v. (doc. no. 75). 



AT the earnest desire of Miguel Vaz, Episcopal Vicar 
of Goa, Francis Xavier had set forth to evangelize 
the Paravas, low-caste Hindus who carried on the 
pearling industry of the " Fishery Coast/' between Cape 
Comorin and the line of reef known as Adam's Bridge. Vaz 
had himself visited this region in 1532, and had converted 
the natives wholesale — an achievement not entirely due 
to his own zeal and eloquence, as the Paravas had already 
determined to embrace Christianity if only the white 
strangers would deliver them from the Muslim tyrants who 
devoured all the profit of the fisheries. Xavier found that 
they knew nothing of Christianity, except that it was 
their own rehgion. They knew even less of the Portuguese 
language. His companions, however, were native Christians, 
and with their aid he sought out the few men who could 
speak both Portuguese and Malayalam,i and so could 
interpret. After four months* toil he had completed a 
translation of the Catechism. Meanwhile he travelled 
from village to village, barefooted ; he subsisted on a 
single daily meal of rice, obtained by begging ; at night 
he made the earth his bed and a stone his pillow, rarely 
giving more than four hours to sleep, and spending the 
remainder of the darkness in prayer and visits to the sick. 
As usual he began his ministry with the baptism of all who 
would consent to it. 

" As to the numbers who become Christians," he writes, " you may 
understand them from this, that it often happens to me to be hardly 
able to use my hands through the fatigue of baptizing : often in a 
single day I have baptized whole villages. Sometimes I have lost 

1 The principal dialect of this region, as of Malabar. 



my voice and strength altogether with repeating again and again 
the Credo and the other forms." ^ 

He enlisted a corps of children to aid in a campaign 
against idolatry. 

" Whenever I hear of any act of idolatrous worship, I go to the place 
with a large band of these children, who very soon load the devil with 
a greater amount of insult and abuse than he has lately received of 
honour and worship from their parents, kinsmen and acquaintance. 
The children run at the idols, dash them down, break them in pieces, 
spit on them, trample on them, kick them about, and in short heap 
on them every possible outrage." ^ 

It is not surprising that the children flocked to welcome 
a missionary who not only provided these fascinating 
games, but even encouraged his youthful bodyguard to 
preach to its parents and guardians, and to rebuke their 
want of enthusiasm for the new gospel. Elder converts 
showed, on occasion, a disconcerting desire for illumination 
on the problems of theology. 

" They asked me how the soul of a dying man issued from the body ? 
'Was it as when we seem to be conversing with friends and acquaintance 
in our dreams ? Was this because the soul departs from the body 
in sleep ? And, to crown all, was God black or white ? ' For as there 
is so great variety of colour among men, and the Indians are them- 
selves black, they esteem their own colour most highly, and hold that 
their gods are also black. On this account the great majority of their 
idols are pitch-black, and moreover are generally so smeared with oil 
as to smell abominably and seem to be as dirty as they are ugly." ^ 

Xavier could only answer through an interpreter, or in 
broken Malayalam eked out by signs, but in spite of all 
hindrances his mission made real progress, and after fifteen 
months he was ready to leave the Fishery Coast. 

Lest his converts should relapse as they had relapsed 
at the departure of Miguel Vaz, he appointed native 
catechists in each Christian village, who were empowered 
to teach, to baptize newborn infants, and to celebrate 
marriages. It was his custom to pay part of their salary 
in advance. The money was provided by the viceroy out 

1 Coleridge, vol. i. p. 153. ^ 7^^ pp^ 153-4- ^ I(i- P- 160. 


of a special fund ; according to Torsellino, it *' was accus- 
tomed to be payd to Queene Catherin of Portugal, to buy 
her shoes, and Pantofles. Wherefore Francis wrote unto 
her majesty, very pleasantly and piously, that she could 
have no fitter shoes or Pantofles, to climb heaven than 
the Christian children of the Piscarian coast, and their 
instructions." ^ 

After securing the continuance of his work in this manner, 
Francis revisited his headquarters in Goa ; but his stay 
in the capital was brief, and having entrusted the future 
government of the College of St Paul to a Jesuit rector, 
he returned to the Fishery Coast. He was accompanied 
by Francis Mancias, a new recruit of the Society, by two 
native priests and by some Portuguese laymen. Each of 
these assistants, it would appear, was placed in charge of 
a district, in which he was to act as an itinerant teacher, 
and to supervise the native catechists. 

The letters to Mancias show that the work of the mission- 
aries was backed by the authority of the Governor. The 
wives and daughters of the pearl-fishers were accustomed 
to expel the taste of sea-water with arrack, and a beadle 
was dispatched to Mancias with full power to fine drunken 
women, and to imprison for three days all who again offended 
in the same way. The village headmen were to be re- 
sponsible for the enforcement of the law against arrack- 
drinking. In a letter dated the 24th of March 1544, Mancias 
is bidden to find out the truth of a complaint made by three 
nobles of Travancore, who asserted that a slave belonging to 
their Raja had been arbitrarily arrested by a Portuguese. 

"If he owes the Portuguese anything, let the complaint be laid 
before his own prince, who is sure to decide what is just. ... I 
wonder whether the Portuguese would think it good if, when one of 
the natives happened to have a dispute with one of themselves, he 
were to seize the Portuguese by main force, put him in chains, and 
have him deported from our territories." 

The conduct of the white traders tended to frustrate 
the labours of the missionaries, and Xavier almost made 

1 Torsellino (1632), p. 140. 


up his mind to abandon India and betake himself to the 
kingdom of Prester John " where there are no Europeans 
to pull down what we have built." Invaders from the 
north ^ wrought even greater havoc among the converts, 
who had no means of resisting, and could only take refuge 
in their boats while the invaders ravaged the villages on 
the mainland. Francis wrote a letter of protest and en- 
treaty to the Raja of Travancore, urged the Portuguese 
commandant at Tuticorin to send a warship, and ordered 
his own assistants to post sentinels who could give timely 
warning of a night attack. 

Part of the year 1544 was spent by Francis in the kingdom 
of Travancore, which he seems to have visited in the intervals 
of his work on the Fishery Coast. As a rule this kingdom 
was tributary to Vijayanagar, but at intervals the Raja 
of Madura succeeded in establishing a transient and in- 
complete suzerainty over its rulers. Its territories extended 
between Cochin and the Fishery Coast, and may thus be 
said to have lain within the Portuguese sphere of influence. 
Our knowledge of Xavier's work in this region is slight. 
It is said that he achieved a marvellous result. Multitudes 
gathered to hear the sermons of the barefooted mendicant, 
whose torn cassock and rough cloth cap were symbols of 
a faith that looked for no earthly reward. A tree served 
as pulpit ; mass was celebrated under a canopy made from 
the thwarts of boats. Hindus were baptized in thousands, 
and when the apostle departed he left behind no fewer 
than forty-five new-bom churches. Such is the Jesuit 
tradition. Its value may be assessed by a reference to 
Xavier's own words, written at Panical on the 21st of August 
1544 : *' 1 am working in the midst of a people whose 
language I do not understand, and I have no interpreter." 
If the apostle had not been able to learn the dialects of 
the Fishery Coast after many months' toil, it is improbable 
that his eloquence in the speech of Travancore would have 
acquired irresistible force after a briefer study. There is, 

^ These Badega, or B adages, as Xavier calls them, were natives of Vijaya- 
nagar and spoke Telegu. The Tamil form of the name is Vadagar. Xavier 
was the first European to mention the Badega. 


however, no reason to reject the story of one incident which 
might well have turned many hearts to the new creed. 
The ascetic priest was also a hidalgo of Spain, and when his 
converts were threatened by a hostile army from Madura, 
he went alone to challenge the invaders. With upHfted 
crucifix, he rebuked them in the name of God. The front 
ranks wavered and halted. Their comrades and leaders 
vainly pressed them to advance, but no man dared pass 
the black-robed figure which barred the way, and presently 
the whole force retreated and molested the Christians no 

This legend was already current in the sixteenth century, 
and it suits the character of one whose whole missionary 
career was a triumph of personality. 

It would be impossible to describe in detail the journeys 
which Xavier accomplished during the next five years in 
India, the Malay Peninsula and the Malay Archipelago. 
He continued as a general rule to apply the same methods 
which had proved successful on the Fishery Coast, under- 
taking in person the pioneer labour of founding each new 
church, and leaving it an organized community to be 
governed and enlarged by his successors. One of his 
lieutenants had been dispatched to evangelize the people 
of Manaar, a sandy island situated between the coast of 
Ceylon and Adam's Bridge. The success of this mission 
had been resented by the Raja of Jafnapatam in Ceylon, 
who was suzerain of the island ; many converts had been 
called upon to renounce their new creed, and refusal had 
been punished with death. Xavier hastened north, and 
persuaded the Governor, Martim Affonso de Sousa, to 
dispatch an armada against the offending potentate, but 
while the ships were awaiting orders to sail the whole plan 
was abandoned. A richly laden Portuguese merchantman, 
from Pegu, had run aground on the Jafnapatam littoral ; 
and the Government abandoned all thought of vengeance 
in order to redeem her crew and cargo. 

A letter dated the 7th of April 1545, and addressed to 
Mancias, who was now head of the Travancore churches, 
contains the menace of yet another appeal to the secular 


arm. Mancias is exhorted to inquire into the conduct of 
the Nestorian priests on the Malabar Coast, and to visit 
any fault with swift severity, 

*' lest they not only incur eternal damnation, but draw down others 
also into hell ... for if we should let the full powers we have for 
this purpose rest unused^ like a sword in its scabbard ... we should 
be arraigned of a serious crime, hardly to be expiated by much 
punishment." ^ 

One Cosmo de Paiva, a Portuguese who had been guilty 
of murder, robbery and other offences on the Fishery Coast, 
was to be warned that, unless he mended his ways, the 
King, the Governor and the Holy Office would be asked 
to mend them for him. 

Before the end of April Xavier was in Mailapur, on 
the Coromandel Coast. It was at this time generally 
believed that the apostle Thomas had preached Christianity 
in India, and had been martyred at Salamina, a city which 
in after days became Mailapur. John III. had sent an 
expedition to find his tomb, and it is hardly necessary to 
add that it was duly found — in a wooden chapel erected 
by the saint himself. In 1545 the relics had not yet been 
transferred to Goa, but the Portuguese colony at Mailapur 
had built them a new shrine. Xavier spent four peaceful 
months in the spot hallowed by memories so sacred. Then, 
in one of those rare moments of ecstasy to which he looked 
for illumination, he received what he regarded as a divine 
mandate. He was to go to Malacca, and thence proceed to 
Celebes in the Malay Archipelago. 

He finished the first stage of this journey towards the end 
of September 1545, and remained until January working 
among the mariners and traders of many nationalities who 
were wont to forgather here on the verge of the Indian 
Ocean. Once more as at Goa he traversed the silent 
city-streets after dark, swinging his bell and calling upon the 
people of Malacca to pray for all sinners and souls in pur- 
gatory. The slaves and children soon learned to sing the 
simple verses he had written and set to music ; but the 

1 Coleridge, vol. i., p. 293. 


mass of the people consisted of Muhammadans, who re- 
mained obstinately deaf to the most eloquent sermons in 
a language they could not understand. Xavier himself 
was anxious to be gone. Rumour said that the people of 
Celebes were sun-worshippers, innocent of temples or 
priests and uncorrupted by contact with white men. 



LIFE in the Malay Archipelago was less idylUc than 
Xavier imagined. In Java, the ruins of mighty 
temples bore witness to the splendour of a vanished 
Indian civilization, already superseded by Islam, and in 
the other islands every stage of social development between 
cannibaHsm and Muhammadanism was well represented. 
It is uncertain how far eastward the Portuguese had ventured, 
but the littoral of a continent resembling Australia is for 
the first time laid down on some French maps drawn between 
1530 and 1550.1 It has been suggested that the material 
for these maps was supplied by certain filibusters from 
Dieppe, who visited the Far East between 1527 and 1539, 
and employed Portuguese pilots.^ One of their ships ran 
aground on the coast of Sumatra, where a member of the 
crew rashly boasted that he had visited the " Island of 
Gold " : he was an unenterprising pirate, for he protested 
that he could never find his way back thither, and was 
impaled by the local Raja for his lack of imagination. 

This half-fabulous Island of Gold loomed large on the 
horizon of the Portuguese explorers. It was reported to 
lie south-east of Sumatra ; shoals and moving sandbanks 
enclosed it ; palms grew on its low shores ; its people were 
black and ferocious — so much the agent of Diogo Lopes 
de Sequeira learned in 1518.^ Later rumour added that 
the islanders were dwarfs, but abated nothing of their 
truculence. It has been suggested that the Island of Gold 

1 Reproduced in The Discovery of Australia, by A. F. Calvert,' London, 

* R. S. Whiteway, in The Geographical Journal, vol. ix. pp. 80 seq. 

* Sequeira was Governor of India from 1518 to 1522. 


was none other than Australia, in which case the French 
corsairs and their Portuguese pilots must share the credit 
of a discovery far earlier than the first authenticated 
voyages to Australia, those of 1606.^ But the story is 
vague and in dispute. It is, however, certain that many 
parts of the Archipelago were familiar to the Portuguese, 
who had settled in the Moluccas and established regular 
traffic with Farther India. 

The first expedition to the Moluccas, or Spice Islands, 
had been dispatched by Albuquerque in 151 1. The Portu- 
guese made their headquarters in the island of Temate, 
where they were at first welcomed as useful allies against 
the neighbouring and hostile island-state of Tidore. Among 
them was the famous Magellan (Femao Magalhaes), who 
returned to Europe, and entered the service of Spain, just 
as the Spanish Government was considering whether the 
Malay Archipelago, and even Malacca itself, did not fall 
within the Spanish sphere as defined by the Treaty of 
Tordesillas. In these circumstances, Magellan easily 
secured the command of a fleet under orders to find a 
westward passage to the Archipelago. He coasted down 
the Patagonian littoral as far as the " Strait of the Eleven 
Thousand Virgins," now known as the Strait of Magellan, 
and entered a calm expanse of ocean which he named the 
Mar Pacifico. In April 1521 he was killed in a skirmish 
with the natives of Mactan, in the Philippines, after com- 
pleting a voyage of discovery which ranks with those of 
Dias, Gama and Columbus. After his death, his captains 
steered for Tidore, where they held their own until Portu- 
guese reinforcements arrived in 1522, and compelled them 
to withdraw. Seven years afterwards, the rival claims of 
Spain and Portugal were compromised, Spain receiving the 
Philippines and a sum of 350,000 ducats, while all other parts 
of the Malay Archipelago up to an imaginary line drawn 
17° E. of the Moluccas, were included in the Portuguese 

^ An expedition dispatched by Godinho de Eredia (see Appendix A) 
may have reached Australia in 1601. His claim, and the identity of the 
" Island of Gold," were discussed by R. H. Major in Early Voyages to 
Terra Australis, London, Hakluyt Society, 1859 ; and in ArchcBologta, 
second series, vols, xxxviii. (i860) and xliv. (1873). 


sphere. But this arrangement did not prevent the re- 
currence of disputes and sometimes of actual fighting 
between representatives of the contracting powers. 

Two Portuguese officials, D. Jorge de Menezes and 
Antonio Galvao the historian, had left their mark upon 
the history of the Moluccas before the coming of Francis 
Xavier. Menezes had visited the Malay state of Brunei, in 
North Borneo, and desired to win its Raja to an alliance. 
In 1527 he sent an embassy thither, with sundry gifts — 
among them a piece of tapestry on which was delineated, 
in life-sized figures, the wedding of Catherine of Aragon to 
Arthur, Prince of Wales. After due thought, the Raja 
concluded that these mysterious figures were bound by a 
magic spell, and boded him no good : they might return to 
life and kill him as he slept. The tapestry was accordingly 
removed and the envoy dismissed. 

Menezes may have been soured by this disappointment, 
though he gained a compensating success by dislodging a 
Spanish force from Tidore in 1528. Whatever the reason, 
his rule in the Moluccas was a brutal tyranny. The native 
Raja of Temate had been poisoned ; Menezes kept his 
successor in strict confinement ; and another member 
of the royal family, whom the Muslims looked upon as a 
saint, was also flung into prison on a charge of slaughtering 
a pedigree pig from China. The holy man was liberated 
because an angry mob threatened reprisals, but not before 
his face had been smeared with lard by one of his gaolers. 
Menezes answered all claims for redress with a bland assur- 
ance that the fellow should not escape punishment, for 
spoiling good bacon. His reign of terror at last provoked 
a rebellion, in which the people of Ternate joined their 
old adversaries of Tidore in a desperate endeavour to 
exterminate the Portuguese. Peace was not restored 
until, in October 1536, Antonio Galvao came to take over 
the government. He offered terms to the rebels ; but they 
mistook generosity for fear, and compelled him to continue 
the war, although he endeavoured to avert bloodshed by 
challenging the native leaders to single combat. After 
defeating the Raja of Temate, who fell in battle, Galvao 


completely broke up the league of malcontents and left 
them no alternative but surrender. He then set himself 
to win the goodwill of the islanders by his just and en- 
lightened rule ; and so well did he succeed that when a 
Spanish fleet arrived off Temate they risked their lives to 
prevent the strangers from landing without permission. 
They urged Galvao to become their Raja, and under his 
influence many of them even became Christians. He 
demolished their mosques and temples, built churches, 
founded a school for " infidel children " — and was still 
beloved. But his term of office came to an end in 1540, 
and he went home to claim his reward ; for he had spent 
his own fortune in the service of the crown. No reward 
was forthcoming, but Galvao found a home in the Lisbon 
hospital, where he remained until his death in 1557. Six 
years after his departure from the Moluccas, his missionary 
work was taken up by Francis Xavier, who sailed from 
Malacca on New Year's Day 1546, and landed in Amboyna 
six weeks later. A Spanish fleet was temporarily stationed 
there, but Xavier's first thought was for the natives, and 
he hastened inland to visit the Christian villages and to 
baptize every newborn infant. He found the islanders 
a less gentle folk than the sun-worshippers of whom he had 
been told. 

" Send me assistants/' he wrote to the rector of the Jesuit college 
in Goa, " and if they be not priests^ let them at all events be men who 
have been roughly handled by the world, the flesh, and the devil. 
They must bring the sacred vessels and vestments . . . but the 
chaHces must be of tin ; they will be safer than silver." ^ 

The scurvy-ridden Spanish fleet kept him busy for two 
months among the penitent and dying. In his rare leisure 
he mused upon a rumour, current in Malacca, that St 
Thomas had preached in China, and founded a church 
there. Might not his own endeavours evoke a readier 
response in the land of sages than here, among the barbarous 
islanders and their lawless rulers ? The local customs 
were certainly not attractive : — 

1 Coleridge, vol. i. p. 370. 


"If we are to believe what is reported of them," Xavier writes, 
" they are so extreme in their savagery that when a man is preparing 
a specially choice banquet, he asks his neighbour to give him his 
aged father, and . . . promises to do the same ... if that other 
should desire to give a like entertainment. . . . Should any of their 
own people die by disease, they do not touch the rest of the body, 
but cut off the hands and feet, which they regard as great delicacies." 
Nevertheless he believes " that they are willing to be converted from 
all their detestable wickedness to Christian piety." ^ 

His mission in the Malay Archipelago lasted a year and 
a half. It is difficult to identify all the islands to which 
the letters refer ; from his headquarters at Amboyna and 
Ternate he made numerous journeys by sea, visiting, it 
would appear, every spot where a Christian community 
had been estabhshed, and winning new converts every- 
where. The Archipelago, he wrote in one of his moods of 
exaltation, ** should be called the Islands of Divine Hope 
... in a few years one might lose one's eyesight from 
weeping tears of joy." ^ The Malay dialect of Malacca was 
a lingua franca in which, through his interpreters, he could 
preach and catechize with the certitude of being understood ; 
once more he taught through music, so that 

" the native boys in the streets, the young maids and women in 
their huts, the labourers afield, and the fishermen on the sea, were 
ever singing the elements of the Christian faith, instead of their own 
lewd and blasphemous ditties." 

The idyl was not, however, perfect. Europeans were 
untrustworthy, Muslim and pagan enemies harried the 
converts, and there were times when even the earth and 
sea appeared actively hostile. The letters are full of the 
earthquakes which made the captains of passing ships 
believe they had struck a shoal, and of the volcanic fires 
which " broke forth with a crash louder than the largest 
brass gun makes when firing a full charge." Xavier's 
comment may be quoted : — 

" They asked me what it all meant. I told them this place was the 
abode of hell, into which all idolaters would be cast. How severe 

1 Coleridge, vol. i. p. 381. * Id. p. 387. 


the earthquakes are, you may judge from this — when I was saying 
mass on the feast of the Archangel St Michael, the earth was so violently 
shaken that I was in great fear the altar itself would be upset. Perhaps 
St Michael, by his heavenly power, was driving into the depths of 
hell all the wicked spirits of the country who were opposing the worship 
of the true God." ^ 

For himself Xavier had no fear, though the v^orshippers 
fled panic-stricken. It was not unnatural that after this 
the islanders should listen reverently to one who seemed 
unmoved by the forces of earthquake and storm. Even 
those who were unconvinced by his teaching must have 
regarded him as a wizard more potent than any native 

But by this time he had prepared the soil for other mission- 
aries to cultivate. It was necessary for him to return and 
attend to the larger affairs of India ; and about the middle 
of July 1548, he once more landed in Malacca. Here a 
sudden crisis evoked his genius for command. An armada 
of sixty ships and 5000 men from Sumatra had stolen 
under cover of night into the harbour of Malacca, where 
much of the shipping had been burned, though the landing- 
parties had failed to rush the defences of the city. It was 
a skilfully planned surprise, carried out under the leader- 
ship of the Raja of Pedir. As the triumphant raiders 
stood to sea again, they fell in with some fishermen, cut 
off their noses, ears and heels, and sent the captives home 
with a letter written in their own blood, in which Simao de 
Mello, Captain of Malacca, was formally challenged to battle. 
Hello affected to see a joke in this unconventional cartel ; 
his sense of humour may have been abnormal, but it is 
more likely that he dared not accept the challenge, inas- 
much as his whole force consisted of eight unseaworthy 
ships, which had been beached for repairs. Xavier, 
however, refused to countenance delay. His eloquence 
and fiery enthusiasm put fresh courage into the garrison ; 
the crazy ships were patched up, and the crews dispatched 
with a blessing and an assurance of victory. The flagship 
foundered in sight of the shore, but Xavier promised a 

» Jd„ l.c. 


reinforcement of two ships, and towards nightfall their 
sails showed in the offing. They were the galleys of one 
Diego Suarez de Melo, a Galician merchant who had fled 
to sea under sentence of death, and had taken to piracy 
until, meeting the new Governor, Martim Affonso de Sousa, 
he had won pardon by a timely invective against the previous 
holder of that office, D. Estevao da Gama. Francis rowed 
out to the galleys, and enrolled this unorthodox recruit in 
the " armada of Jesus," as the fleet was called. 

The armada put off without further mishap, and for some 
weeks no tidings of its fortune arrived. Torsellino has 
preserved the legend that Xavier proclaimed the precise 
hour of its triumph and predicted the time of its return, 
so accurately that, on the day foretold, the armada sailed 
into Malacca harbour, with twenty-five captive vessels 
and three hundred cannon. Four-fifths of the enemy had 
perished, and the remainder of their ships had been burned 
or shot to pieces.i In the solemn procession of thanks- 
giving Xavier took precedence of the captain and magis- 
trates, while salutes were fired in his honour from the forts 
and ships. Never had his fame stood so high. 

Already men came from afar to be cured by him of their 
spiritual maladies. One such pilgrim now reached Malacca, 
a man of that race which, according to Xavier, " surpasses 
all others in its desire for knowledge," a native of " some 
large islands which have lately been discovered." His 
name is given as Anger, Angero, or Anjiro, a corruption 
of Yajiro. He had left his home at Kagoshima, in the 
south of Japan, hoping by travel both to disburden himself 
of remorse for his many crimes and to escape the vengeance 
of his enemies. Portuguese friends had bidden him entrust 
his soul to the great seer and healer who alone could give 
him absolution and a quiet mind. Yajiro found what he 
sought in Malacca, and became the first of Japanese Chris- 
tians. His influence upon his teacher was marked ; thence- 
forward Xavier saw in Japan the promised land which he 
had dreamed of finding in Ethiopia or China. No preachers 

^ The reader may believe as much of this story as he thinks fit. It is 
based almost entirely on the Jesuit histories. 


of Islam could have forestalled him there, and no evil- 
living Europeans would be at hand to corrupt and maltreat 

The mission to Japan was postponed for nearly a year 
owing to the pressure of administrative work which recalled 
Xavier to Cochin and Goa ; but in May 1549 he returned to 
Malacca, and late in June he departed " in the junk of a 
Chinese corsair named Necoda," accompanied by two 
Castihan Jesuits, Juan Fernandez and Cosmo Torres, and 
by Yajiro — who " thanked God that no other European 
but these entered Japan along with Francis." 

It was not the first time that Yajiro had proved his 
intellectual subtlety. When required to explain the 
direction of Japanese writing down the page, he had 
answered, " The head of a man is at the top and his feet 
at the bottom ; and so it is proper that when men write 
it should be straight down.'* 




THE most detailed account of the mission to Japan 
occurs in the " Peregrination " of Fernao Mendes 
Pinto, whose quaint record of adventure deserves 
notice. " Tis as diverting a book of the kind as ever I 
read " — so Mistress Dorothy Osborne wrote to Sir William 
Temple ; but the prevailing view is expressed by a character 
in Congreve's Love for Love : " F. M. Pinto was but a type 
of thee, thou liar of the first magnitude," and in the hideous 
pun of a Portuguese sceptic — " Fernao, mentes P " '* Minto : " 
** Do you Ue, Fernao ? '* "I do." These critics had reason. 
Pinto underwent the liveliest changes of fortune, but his 
memory was as apt to create as to preserve. His first 
translator, one Henry Cogan, gentleman, beUeved in him, 
and, in 1653, produced a version of his Peregrinagam which 
is a classic in its way, though incomplete.^ Editors have 
since avoided a text so littered with unknown names, 
improbable spellings, and irreconcilable dates. 

According to his own account, Fernao Mendes Pinto 
embarked for India in March 1537, " meanly accommo- 
dated " but resolute to mend his fortunes in a land which 
afforded lackeys or private soldiers, such as he, the chance 
of acquiring wealth and a long line of ancestors. He 
arrived at Diu, and forthwith departed to the Red Sea 
with a scouting expedition sent to watch the movements 

^ All the passages quoted in this chapter are taken, after verification, 
from Cogan's version. The chief modern books on Pinto are Fernao 
Mendes Pinto : suhsidios para a sua biographia, by Christovao de Magalhaes 
Sepulveda, Lisbon, 1904 ; Farndo Mendes Pinto e o Japdo, id., Lisbon, 
1906 ; Subsidios para ... a biographia de Fernao Mendes Pinto, by 
Jordao A. de Freitas, Coimbra, 1905 ; and Fernao Mendes Pinto : sua 
ultima viagem d China, 1554-15 5 5, etc., id., Lisbon, 1905. 


of the Turkish fleet, which was mobiUzing for a raid on 
India. From Massawa he was dispatched with letters to 
the Abyssinian court, but after a journey through the 
dominions of Prester John he was shipwrecked near Aden, 
fell among Arabs, and was sold as a slave. This chapter 
of his adventures ended happily ; the purchaser was a 
Jew, who resold him at a profit in Ormuz. 

After making his way to Goa and thence to Malacca, 
Pinto was employed as a political agent in Sumatra and in 
Keda, a small state on the west coast of the Malay Peninsula, 
tributary to Siam.^ But he could never have become the 
ideal ambassador defined by Sir Henry Wotton ; however 
well he might perform the duty of lying abroad, the good of 
his country would always have been an afterthought. He 
therefore sought a career better suited to his talents. 

The China Seas were much frequented by certain craft 
of the kind which subsequently made history in the Carib- 
bean. In port they were peaceful tramps though they 
carried ordnance, pots of " wildfire," and a large store of 
unslaked lime to be flung at opponents " after the Chinese 
manner," besides stones, javelins, arrows, half -pikes, axes 
and grappling-irons. It was aboard these vessels that 
Mendes Pinto, who had something of Gil Bias and some- 
thing of Captain Silver about his character, found mess- 
mates and a calling after his own heart. He roamed the 
Eastern seas, and helped a crew of criminals, pressed men 
and other light-hearted vagabonds to take toll of the native 
shipping. When he wrote his book he was posing as a 
penitent sinner, but there is a kind of suppressed relish 
in the passages which describe how he and his comrades 
tortured old men and children, '* made their brains fly out 
of their heads with a cord," or looked on while the victims 
died raving " like mad dogs." Nothing pleased him better 
than to surprise some defenceless junk and fling powder- 
pots among the sleeping crew ; it was exquisite sport to 
see the wretches dive and drown. The captain of one such 
junk was '* a notorious Pyrat," and Pinto complacently 
draws the moral — " Thus you see how it pleased God out 

1 Since 1909 a British protectorate. 


of his Divine justice to make the arrogant confidence 
of this cursed Dog a means to chastise him for his 

Every Portuguese buccaneer was of course a pillar of 
orthodoxy. Even Antonio de Faria, by no means the 
most humane of Pinto's captains, had his religious scruples, 
and would doubtless have excused his own career as a kind 
of maritime crusade. Antonio had vowed to make an end 
of one Kwaja Husain, a Muhammadan corsair from Gujarat, 
and had passed through many adventures on the China 
Seas, capturing pirate crews, dashing out their brains, and 
amassing amber, gold and pearls after the most approved 
manner of his class. Off Hainan he struck such terror into 
the local buccaneers that they proclaimed him their king, 
and arranged to pay him tribute if he would grant them 
licence to trade. His vessel was cast ashore on a desert 
island ; but Faria and his crew discovered a deer which 
had been considerately left uneaten by a tiger, and supplied 
themselves with fish by shouting to scare the gulls that 
flew overhead, and so compelling the astonished birds to 
" let fall their prey." As a final stroke of good fortune 
they found a Chinese junk whose crew had gone ashore 
and left her in charge of an old man and a child. Faria 
sailed off in this vessel, amid the lamentations of its rightful 
owners, and after fitting out a new expedition, resumed 
the quest of his Muslim foe. On a Sunday morning in the 
year 1542 he arrived off Ningpo (Liampo), his ambition 
fulfilled and his holds crammed with booty. The in- 
habitants turned out to give him a royal welcome which 
both his subordinate, Mendes Pinto, and his " kinsman," 
Faria y Sousa, have described with picturesque minuteness. 
But Antonio positively blushed when a sermon was preached 
in his honour, so ill-placed were the words and so far did 
the preacher stray from his text. " Whereupon some of 
his friends pluckt him three or four times by the surpHce, 
for to make him give over." 

The jolly life of the freebooters had its ups and downs. 
Pinto once visited a small Malay state in company with 
a Muslim factor, who was asked to dine with a fellow 


Muhammadan and rashly spoke evil of the Raja. That 
potentate got wind of the slander, for which host and guest 
alike were made to suffer by having their feet, hands and 
heads sawn off in succession. Pinto showed himself no 
hero, but fear sharpened his wits. He claimed to be the 
nephew of D. Pedro de Faria, an influential fidalgo, whose 
kinsmen the Raja would be loath to injure ; adding that 
the factor was an employee of his distinguished uncle, had 
embezzled the great man's money and fully deserved death. 
This tale, Pinto adds, was extemporized ** not knowing 
well what I said." 

Shipwreck interrupted his career as a corsair. He was 
captured, enslaved and carried first to Peking and after- 
wards to " Quinsay," a city of North China. On the way 
he was compelled to assist in repairing the Great Wall. 
The need for this outwork was never more keenly felt than 
in the middle years of the sixteenth century, when China 
was hard pressed by the Mongols of Central Asia. Although 
the mediaeval empire of Kublai Khan and Jenghiz Khan 
had split and crumbled away, the descendants of these 
warriors had built up a number of smaller states out of the 
ruins. None was more formidable to China than the 
principality ruled by Altan Khan, whose tribe, the Tumeds, 
dwelt near the Yellow River, south-east of the Gobi Desert 
and east of Lake Kuku Nor. In 1544, if Pinto's memory 
served him aright, Altan Khan swept down upon Quinsay 
with a host of horsemen and footmen, and with forty 
thousand " rhinocerots " — camels, it may be — which drew 
the baggage-carts. The Mongols battered down the 
city-gates with iron rams, and sacked and slew without 
mercy. They then marched on Peking, whither Pinto was 
conveyed to be confronted with Altan Khan. The 

" was set on his Throne under a rich cloth of state^ and had about 
him twelve young boys kneeling on their knees, with little Maces 
ol Gold like Sceptres, which they carried on their shoulders ; close 
behinde was a young Lady extremely beautiful, and wonderfully 
richly attired, with a Ventiloe in her hand, wherewith she ever and 
anon fanned him. . . . The King was about forty years of age, full 


stature, somewhat lean, and of a good aspect ; his beard was very- 
short, his mustaches after the Turkish manner, his eyes like to the 
Chineses, and his countenance severe and majestical ; As for his vesture 
it was violet-colour, in fashion Hke to a Turkish Robe, imbroidered 
with Pearl, upon his feet he had green Sandals wrought all over with 
gold-purl, and great Pearls among it, and on his head a Sattin cap of 
the colour of his habit, with a rich band of Diamonds and Rubies 
intermingled together." 

When the siege of Peking was raised, Pinto accompanied 
the Mongol army on its retreat to the Turned territory. 
He found favour with his captors, and was permitted to 
join an embassy to the court of Cochin China. Striking 
south-west from the region of Lake Kuku-Nor, he passed 
through Tibet, then turned south-east down one of the 
great rivers which rise in the Tibetan highlands, traversed 
Yunnan, and reached the sea by following the river Songkoi 
through Tongking. His exact route cannot be traced, 
but it was assuredly the longest and most arduous overland 
journey which any European traveller of the sixteenth 
century accomplished in the Far East. Some of its incidents 
are curious. At one of the first halting-places, which Pinto 
calls *' Puxanguim," he noticed some cannon made with 
iron breeches and wooden muzzles ; these, he was told, 
had been fashioned by certain men called Almains who 
came out of Muscovy and had been banished by the King 
of Denmark. At " Quanginau " in Tibet he encountered 
the " Talapicor of Lechuna," who preached in the pagoda 
of a Lamaist monastery, ** deHvering a world of extrava- 
gancies and fooleries. '* The Talapicor was " the Pope of 
those parts,*' and may have been a sixteenth-century 
avatar of the Grand Lama. Lechuna, which the travellers 
reached a fortnight afterwards, proved ** the chief est city 
of the religion of those Gentiles " ; it contained sumptuous 
temples, and the tombs of seventeen Tatar kings. Unless 
Lechuna is to be interpreted as a transliteration of the 
Tibetan Lha-kiang} a temple, this may well have been 
Lhasa. The Talapicor urged his congregation not to 
suffer the priests to starve — 

^ As Mr S. Wheeler suggests : see below. 


" which would be as great a sin before God, as if you should cut the 
throat of a Httle white heifer when she is sucking of her dam, by the 
death of whom a thousand souls would die, which are buried in her 
as in a golden Tomb, in expectation of the day which is to accomplish 
the promise that was made unto them, wherein they shall be trans- 
formed into white Pearls for to dance in Heaven, like unto Moats which 
are in the beams of the Sun." 

From Cochin China Pinto resumed his wanderings, and 
visited Burma, Macao, Japan and other outlandish regions. 
He claimed to have been one of the castaways who discovered 
Japan in 1542 ; but by some oversight, contemporary 
annalists have neglected to mention his share in that 
exploit. Galvao gives the names of the discoverers as 
Antonio da Mota, Francisco Zeimoto and Antonio Pexoto. 
These three were carried by a typhoon to the island of 
Tanegashima, off Kiushiu, the southernmost of the main 
islands of Japan. Here they were hospitably treated ; 
and though conversation was impossible in the absence of 
any interpreter, they contrived to make themselves under- 
stood with the aid of a Chinese seaman, whose ideograms, 
roughly traced on the sand, were intelligible to the Japanese. 
Three matchlocks — the first firearms introduced into Japan 
— were presented to the local feudatory and afterwards 
copied by native armourers. ^ 

It was on his third voyage to Japan that Pinto came in 
contact with Xavier. 

In 1558, so the legend runs, he returned to Lisbon, after 
twenty-one years of adventure in which he was five times 
shipwrecked, and seventeen times sold as a slave.^ He 
asserts that he went home a reformed sinner, after devoting 
the whole of a vast fortune to the endowment of a Jesuit 
seminary in Goa ; and he laments the indifference with 
which the Portuguese authorities received one who had 
dared and suffered so much for his country 1 Whatever 
else may be disputable in the Peregrinagam, its author 
certainly possessed a sense of humour. In the end he 

^ Until modern times the Japanese name for firearms was Tanegashima. 
* I borrow these statistics from the Encyclopcedia Britannica, ninth 
edition, s.v. Pinto. 


was taken at his own valuation, for in January 1583 he was 
granted a pension by Philip II. of Spain. He died on the 
8th of July, in the same year. 

His trustworthiness is a matter which must be carefully 
weighed by all who may be interested in the biography of 
Francis Xavier. Some of his statements are demonstrably 
false, even when he does not contradict himself, but else- 
where he shows an intimate personal knowledge of the 
Far East. His account of Tibetan hydrography and his 
use of Tibetan place-names have been shown, by Mr S. 
Wheeler,^ to contain a large element of truth ; his mention 
of the French cannon found in Sumatra is a fragment of 
genuine observation ; and he gives some examples of 
Japanese folk-lore which can be paralleled from the pages 
of Lafcadio Hearn. Much evidence for and against his 
veracity could be adduced, but until a critical edition of 
the Peregrinagam is published by the Academia Real, the 
Hakluyt Society, or some equally competent body, it will 
remain impossible to characterize the book as on the whole 
true or false. Travellers and historians so authoritative 
as Sir Henry Yule, Dr Arminius Vambery, Sir R. K. Douglas 
and Mr E. C. Dan vers have testified to its value either 
explicitly or by reproducing its assertions. Mr R. S. 
Whiteway, who knows as much as any Englishman about 
the history of the Portuguese in the East, stigmatizes the 
Peregrinagam as " a romance with some traditions embedded 
in it," and thinks that the Jesuits may have had a hand in 
its composition. Mr Donald Ferguson concurs in this view. 

The Peregrinagam was published in 1614, twenty-one years 
after its author's death and fifty-six years after his return to 
Europe. During this interval it may well have been edited, 
partly, like Couto's Sixth Decade, to meet the requirements 
of the censorship, partly to enable the Jesuits to complete 
the biography of Francis Xavier. As Pinto bequeathed 
his manuscript to the Casa Pia, a home for women in Lisbon, 
which was under clerical control, there were ample oppor- 
tunities for such revision. It seems to me probable that 
the original document on which the ecclesiastical editors 

^ Geographical Journal, vol. i. p. 139 (1893). 


may have worked was not a mere romance, but a record 
of actual travel, embellished to make it more amusing ; 
such a record as Ludovico di Varthema composed. To 
hold this view is not to deny that the Peregrinagam has a 
definite historical value. The adventures of Antonio de 
Faria, whom no other sixteenth-century historian mentions, 
may be fact or fable : nothing can be inferred from the 
silence of these writers The latitude and longitude of such 
places as " Quanginau " and " Puxanguim " may rest for 
ever undetermined. But the Peregrinagam was written for 
a public acquainted with the broad features of life in the 
Far East. It may not describe what happened ; it probably 
does describe the kind of event that happened. In this 
lies its worth. If moreover the chapters on Francis Xavier 
were compiled or edited under Jesuit influence, they doubt- 
less embody all the information which his missionary heirs 
could have secured, either from oral or written records. 



XAVIER'S voyage from Malacca to Japan lasted 
seven weeks, being delayed by heavy gales which 
the Chinese crew strove to calm by burning candles 
and sticks of aloe- wood before their joss. They also cast 
lots or, as Xavier expresses it, ** consulted the devil," to 
ascertain their destiny, learning that their junk would 
arrive safely in Japan but would never return to Malacca. 
The alarm caused by this oracle was heightened when the 
captain's daughter fell overboard and was drowned, so that 
the Chinese made for Canton, intending to abandon the 
venture. But the threats and entreaties of the passengers 
prevailed upon them to continue, and they steered for 
Changchau,^ hoping to winter there, as it was already late 
in the season for a run to Japan. As, however, Changchau 
was found to be beset by robber junks, the voyage was 
hastily resumed. 

Japan, and especially the main island of Nippon, had for 
nearly two centuries been rent by dynastic wars. From 
Kioto, which was then the capital, the Mikado, or titular 
sovereign, and the Shogun, who ruled as his deputy, still 
exercised a nominal authority over the entire empire ; 
but the actual authority had been usurped by the Daimios, 
or feudal chiefs, who had taken advantage of the incessant 
civil strife to make themselves independent, each in his 
own fief. Bands of brigands infested the highroads, while 
the inmates of the Buddhist monasteries, through being 

^ The Chincheo of Portuguese historians, and the Chinchew of old English 
writers, situated on the Amoy inlet, province of Fukien. It is not to 
be confused with Chwanchau (farther north in the same province), to 
which the name of Chinchew was afterwards transferred. 


compelled to bear arms for their own defence, had acquired 
a taste for fighting and plunder which added to the general 

Kagoshima, Mendes Pinto's " Canquexumaa " — where 
Xavier and his three companions landed on the 15th of 
August 1549, stands on the western shore of a deep inlet 
which indents the southern coast of Kiushiu. Here they 
were made welcome by the friends and kinsfolk of Yajiro, 
who acted as interpreter. The Daimio of Satsuma, in 
whose territories Kagoshima was included, at first permitted 
them to preach freely, an act of tolerance which was probably 
dictated by hopes of commercial advantage : for since the 
first landfall of the Portuguese at Tanegashima, other 
Portuguese merchants had found their way to the harbours 
of Kiushiu, and no Daimio could afford to neglect any 
chance of filling by increased trade the coffers which had 
been emptied by endless campaigns. The Buddhist hier- 
archy in Kagoshima was equally ready to welcome the 
new-comers, and listened with tolerant courtesy to the creed 
expounded by Yajiro. 

Xavier's first letters from Kagoshima show how deeply 
he was impressed by the character of the Japanese. He 
notes their love of honour, their reverence for long descent 
rather than riches, their elaborate code of etiquette, their 
hatred of gambling and theft. Almost all men, he says, 
are able to read, and all are trained from childhood to the 
use of arms. " The finest of uncivilized nations " is his 
verdict, deHvered with the unconscious arrogance of the 
West.^ Though the " bonzes " — Buddhist monks and 
priests — provoked his wrath by smihng when he denounced 
their evil lives, Xavier soon made a friend of one of them, 
a priest nearly ninety years old, whose name was inter- 
preted to mean " Heart of Truth." The two venerable 
teachers sat for hours together, debating as best they might 
— with no common language except signs and Xavier's 
broken Japanese — the tremendous questions of immortality 
and the nature of God. But mission-work made slow 
progress when Yajiro was not at hand to interpret. 

^ Letter to the Society of Jesus at Goa, dated November nth, 1549. 

are 1 


" At present/' Xavier writes after six weeks' experience, " we are 
like so many dumb statues in the midst of the people. They talk 
about us and discuss us a good deal among themselves, and we are 
able to say nothing all the time, not knowing their language. We are 
making ourselves children over again in learning the elements of it." ^ 

The Satsuma Daimio granted an audience to Yajiro ; 
his mother was so delighted with a painting of the Madonna 
and Child, brought from Goa, that she asked for a copy 
and for a written statement of the chief doctrines of Chris- 
tianity. Curiously enough, no artist could be found suf- 
ficiently skilled to reproduce the picture. 

A change came in September 1550. Xavier had con- 
demned Buddhism root and branch. In his zeal he had 
repaid courtesy with invective, and at last his strictures 
on the cenobites who disregarded their own rule of celibacy 
had goaded his victims to retaliate. They pointed out to 
the Daimio that these alien firebrands were preaching in 
a tone which must sooner or later provoke violence. Mean- 
while some Portuguese traders were discharging a rich cargo 
at Hirado, an islet off the north-west coast of Kiushiu, in 
the territories of a rival potentate. The remonstrance of 
the Buddhists and his own disappointment moved the 
Daimio to issue an edict forbidding any of his vassals to 
embrace Christianity, on pain of death. His mandate was 
obeyed ; but the converts who had already been won, to 
the number of about 150, were left unmolested. Seeing 
that they could accomplish no more in Kagoshima, the 
three Europeans took ship for Hirado, leaving Yajiro in 
charge of the neophytes. 

Xavier had already learned that his chances of success 
in Japan were dependent on the goodwill of the local rulers 
which could only be secured by the bribe of trade with 
Portuguese India. " We must catch every soul with its 
proper bait," he writes, unfolding a scheme for the mutual 
benefit of Christianity and the King's revenue : — 

" It would be easy to obtain permission for a house in the maritime 
city of Osaka, the chief emporium of all Japan, to be publicly assigned 

1 Coleridge, vol. ii. pp. 251-252. 


to the officials of the King of Portugal, as well as store-houses for 
European goods. These could be exchanged at a high profit for silver 
and gold of the best quality, large quantities of which are brought 
to Osaka from the mines of the country, which are very productive ; a 
factory and exchange would be set up, all to the great benefit of the 
royal revenue of Portugal." ^ 

He proceeds, with his usual businesslike attention to 
the details of any project, to enclose a catalogue of the 
goods best suited to the Japanese market, adding a few 
notes on the right season for a voyage, on freights, pro- 
visions, and the danger of touching at Chinese ports on the 
outward passage. 

The Portuguese traders at Hirado greeted Xavier and 
his companions with a salute from their artillery, and 
escorted them to the presence of the Daimio, by whom 
they were allowed to preach and baptize without hindrance. 
Eager listeners flocked to hear the sermons of Juan Fernandez, 
who was now beginning to make himself understood in 
Japanese ; but unless the traders could provide an inter- 
preter, Xavier and Torres had to content themselves with 
reading aloud from a manual of Christian doctrine which 
Yajiro had composed in his native tongue and transcribed 
into Latin characters. In httle more than a week the new 
religion had gained a hundred adherents. Xavier rightly 
attributed this success to the friendhness of the Daimio, 
and argued that if the favour of one local chief could be 
turned to such splendid account, the goodwill of the Emperor 
himself might influence thousands to turn to the Catholic 
faith. Upon this theory he at once acted, by setting out 
overland for the capital. Cosmo Torres remained to carry 
on the work in Hirado. 

After crossing the Strait of Shimonoseki, Xavier and 
Fernandez continued their journey to Yamaguchi, a great 
inland city, which was the capital of the Choshu fief and had 
been the headquarters of Japanese trade with China, 
Halting here, they found the Daimio friendly, but un- 
impressed by the two travel-stained wayfarers who came 
without gifts, promise of trade, or credentials. In the 

1 Coleridge, vol. ii. pp. 270-271. 


streets they were mobbed by a jeering rabble of boys, 
who assailed them with stones and with shouts of " There 
go the men who declare that it is wicked to have more 
than one wife ! " 

Thus encouraged, Xavier decided to push on towards 
Kioto without delay, although the season was midwinter 
(1550-1551) and the cold would be doubly keen to men 
who had spent years under a tropical sun. The road lay 
over frozen highlands and through flooded watercourses ; 
at times the two missionaries were forced to run barefooted 
beside the stirrup of some grandee, in order to secure the 
protection of his bodyguard against the brigands who 
watched by pass and ferry. But after many hardships they 
at last found themselves safe in a huge city — larger than 
Lisbon itself, though devastated by long wars. Here 
dwelt the Mikado and the Shogun, in a seclusion which no 
stranger might violate. For two unknown vagabonds to 
demand an audience was merely to invite ridicule. Street- 
preaching had no effect on a populace which took its cue from 
the local ruler, and listened with good-humoured apathy 
or not at all. Father Coleridge rightly remarks that Xavier 
" laid the foundation of the future Church of Meaco [Kioto] 
by his sufferings rather than by his successes." ^ 

It was necessary to return to Yamaguchi, but Xavier had 
now mastered the art of conciliating a Japanese feudatory. 
He summoned Cosmo Torres, ordering him to bring from 
Hirado the letters and presents which had originally been 
sent for the Mikado by the Governor of India, the Bishop 
of Goa, and the Captain of Malacca. Among these gifts 
were a clavichord {manicordio) and a clock. At the sight 
of such treasures, the Daimio ^ realized that he was deaUng 
with an ambassador instead of a crazy tramp. His courtesy 
became cordiality, and he pressed his visitors to accept a 
return gift of gold and silver, which they declined. Notices 

^ Vol. ii. p. 293. 

^ The Jesuit historians give his name as Oxindono : from Japanese 
sources we know that it was Uchi, pronounced similarly to the Portuguese 
Oxin. The second half of the name is an honorific suffix. The whole 
affords a good example of the difficulty of identifying Eastern names in 
their Portuguese dress. 


were posted in the most frequented streets to announce 
that Christianity might be taught and believed, and a 
vacant monastery was assigned to the missionaries, who 
preached twice daily to crowded congregations and held 
public debate with the bonzes. 

About the end of August 1551, Xavier learned that 
a Portuguese ship had arrived at Hiji, a seaport in the 
fief of Bungo, which comprised the north-eastern part of 
Kiushiu.^ The captain, Duarte da Gama,^ was the bearer 
of letters for the missionaries, and Mendes Pinto claims 
to have been on board. As Xavier was now anxious to 
return to India, in order to prepare for a voyage to China, 
he re-crossed the Strait of Shimonoseki early in September, 
and joined the ship. The salvos of artillery with which 
he was received seem to have astonished the Japanese, 
and a messenger was sent by Otomo, the feudal chief of 
Bungo, to inquire if the Portuguese had been engaged with 
a squadron of corsairs, whose approach had been signalled. 

Xavier had now finally adopted the policy which ex- 
perience in Hirado and Yamaguchi had shown to be most 
advantageous. Finding that poverty and asceticism were 
ignored, he came forward as the accredited envoy of Portugal, 
taking care that his rank and power should be attested by 
the homage of the merchant adventurers. He desired to 
figure before the Daimio as a magnate whose favour it 
would be worth while to gain. The merchants' gladly ac- 
cepted the part assigned them — Xavier was ever popular 
with seafaring men — and arranged for an audience at the 
court of Bungo. When the day came, they donned their 
gold chains and full gala costume, and rowed ashore with 
flags flying and with trumpets and hautboys plajdng in 
antiphon, much to the excitement of the townsfolk, who 
trooped down to the harbour as soon as they heard this 
novel music. According to Pinto, the ** Quamsyandono, 
captain of Canafama," had been sent by the Daimio to 
escort his guests to the palace. 

1 Pinto's narrative of Xavier' s stay in Japan begins with the visit to 
Hiji (Pinto's Fingeo). 

" Not in any way connected with the family of Vasco da Gama. 


" As for the Father," says Pinto, " he wore a full cassock of black 
camlet, a surplice over it, and a stole of green velvet edged with 
brocade. Behind him walked our captain, holding a major-domo's 
baton as though he were a chamberlain, and in his retinue four or five 
of the most honourable and richest merchants, who, after the manner 
of servitors, ceremoniously carried certain articles in their hands. One, 
for example, carried a book in a white satin cover, another some 
slippers of black velvet which we chanced to have by us, another a 
Bengal cane inlaid with gold, another a figure of Our Lady, swathed 
in a scarf of violet damask, and another a small parasol." ^ 

Pinto goes on to describe the audience at length. Xavier 
passed through the Daimio's bodyguard, whose uniforms 
were of silk and damask, and their sabres plated with gold. 
He was received by a child of some six or seven years, who 
bade him welcome in a speech beginning — 

" May thy coming to this house of my sovereign lord the king be as 
grateful to him and to thee as the rain which God sends from heaven 
to the rice-fields, when they have need of it." ^ 

The Portuguese were then conducted into the presence- 
chamber, where the Daimio saluted Xavier by bowing 
thrice until his forehead touched the ground, while Xavier 
repaid the compliment by kneeling to kiss his host's sabre. 
After a further exchange of courtesies, varied by the ex- 
pulsion of a too critical bonze, the audience terminated. 

Xavier had achieved his purpose, and was free to carry 
on his work in Bungo until it was time to set sail. Through 
the goodwill of the feudal government, he was able to 
ensure the safety of Torres and Fernandez in Yamaguchi, 
when " Oxindono " committed hari-kari as the result of a 
successful revolution, and was succeeded by a brother of 
Otomo. It is noteworthy that during the troubles in 
Yamaguchi the missionaries were given shelter by two 
of their rivals, the bonzes. 

Pinto describes with his usual graphic minuteness sundry 
debates in which Xavier routed the theological champions 
of Bungo, but it is to be feared that the details of these 
encounters originated in the chronicler's own teeming 

* Pinto, chap. ccix. * Pinto, chap. cox. 


brain. ^ We learn how *' Fucarandono, the Superior of 
Miay Gimaa," claimed to have bested his adversary over 
the purchase of some silk, just fifteen centuries before. 
The exploit had been performed in an earlier incarnation ; 
and the Fucarandono proceeded to edify his hearers with 
a dissertation upon metempsychosis. This, says Pinto — 

" the Father refuted thrice over^ with words so clear, reasons so 
evident, and comparisons so apt and true to nature, that the bonze 
remained utterly bewildered : of the which reasons I will not now 
speak, inasmuch as I would not lapse into prolixity, and even more 
because I avow that they pass the comprehension of my own wit." ^ 

From Xavier's own correspondence, it is clear that the 
problems set by the Japanese were subtle enough to tax 
all the resources of his dialectic. It is for this reason that 
he urges Ignatius de Loyola to recommend no missionaries 
for duty in Japan except those of high mental attainments 
as well as of robust physique.^ His own vigour had with- 
stood the strain of the winter journey to Kioto, though 
hair and beard were grown white ; and he was already 
preparing for new and more arduous labour elsewhere. 
In Japan he had found that the Chinese classics were what 
Aristotle and the Scriptures had been to mediaeval Europe. 
They outweighed logic, and constituted a supreme tribunal 
to which the Japanese controversiahsts could safely resort 
if ever they were at a loss for argument. Xavier cites an 
instance of this triumphant appeal to authority : — 

" If there existed a single First Cause of everything, surely, they 
said, the Chinese, from whom they derive their religion, must have 
known it." * 

It followed, for them, that no First Cause could exist : 
for their antagonist, that the conquest of China must 
precede the final subjugation of Japan. When Xavier 

1 Pinto makes Otomo suggest that Xavier should say Beate Petre, for 
Sancte Petre, on the ground that Sancte was an obscene word in Japanese. 
An acquaintance with Latin cannot have been common among Daimios 
in 1551- 

2 Chap. ccxi. 

3 Letter to Ignatius, dated from Cochin on January 29th, 1552. 
* Coleridge, vol. ii. p. 337. 



set sail from Hiji, on the 20th of November 1551, he took 
with him a copy of his Japanese manual transcribed into 
Chinese ideograms. He had spent two years and three 
months in Japan, and the Church which he left to the care 
of Torres, Fernandez and Yajiro had already a membership 
of some 800 souls. 



IT was in the harbour of Malacca that the Portuguese 
first saw the great Canton junks, with their mat-sails, 
painted eyes staring from the bows, coops of live ducks, 
and vegetables flourishing on deck. They had heard of the 
inscrutable beings who manned these floating markets ; 
and in 1508 Diogo Lopes de Sequeira was instructed to 
inquire about them — were they Christians and what were 
their resources ? Sequeira failed to solve these problems, 
though he encountered three or four junks at Malacca, 
whither they came to load spices and sell their " musk, 
rhubarb, pearls, tin, porcelain, silk and wrought stuffs 
of all kinds, such as damask, satins and brocades of extra- 
ordinary richness " : the list is taken from a letter which 
Andrea Corsali, an eye-witness, sent in January 1515 to 
Duke Giuliano de' Medici. ^ 

Jorge de Albuquerque, Captain of Malacca, was the first 
to send an expedition to China, in 15 14, but little is known 
of its fortunes. In the next year Rafael Perestrello, a 
member of the Madeiran family into which Columbus had 
married, accomplished the voyage in safety, and announced 
that the Chinese desired friendship mth the Portuguese. 

An effort to grant this laudable desire was made in June 
1517, when Fernao Pires de Andrade set sail from Malacca, 
conveying as ambassador to the court of Peking an apothe- 
cary named Thome Pires. The flotilla of eight Portuguese 
vessels dropped anchor off the island of Tamao or Tamou, 
known also as the Ilha de Veniaga ; ^ two ships went forward 

^ Reproduced in vol. ii. of Sir H. Yule's Cathay and the Way Thither^ 
London, Hakluyt Society, 1866. 

2 This island, one of those at the mouth of the Canton River, has not 



to Canton itself. They signalized their arrival by firing 
a salute from their cannon and dressing the masts with 
flags, thereby committing a breach of Chinese etiquette. 
This was explained by the local officials, and Femao apolo- 
gized. A native treatise on the Art of War, published in 
1 62 1, declares that as the strangers knew nothing of etiquette 
the Viceroy ordered that they should be instructed for three 
days in the proper ceremonies. The same authority adds 
that the commander of the Firingis was named Ka-pi-tan, 
and that his men " manifested much fondness for the study 
of the Buddhist Scriptures." ^ 

Giovanni de Empoli,^ an Italian, was chosen to expound 
the motives which had brought the embassy to Canton. 
His march through the city was a pageant, in which 
trumpeters led the way and a glittering suite escorted 
the envoy. The Chinese interpreters stated that " they 
were come from the King of the Firingis, to beg for a seal 
from the Lord of the World, the Son of Heaven, in order to 
yield obedience to him " ; this was the correct formula, 
though hardly the mode of address a Portuguese ambassador 
would have chosen. Charmed by so much courtesy, the 
Qfficials promised to communicate with the Emperor, 
allotted a house to Thome Pires, and licensed Fernao and 
his men to trade. The ships put to sea again with a rich 

Femao had conciliated his hosts by his tact and prudence. 
His brother Simao, who arrived in August 1519, shocked 
them by building a fort and setting up gaUows, on which 
he was indiscreet enough to hang one of his crew. Not 
content with this violation of Celestial sovereignty, he 
kidnapped the children of some Chinese traders — boys and 
girls who had been placed on board as security for debt. 
Simao managed to escape, but in September 152 1 the 

been identified. It is certainly an error to confuse it with Shangchwan, 
or St John's, where Xavier died. Veniaga (Malay, harniyaga) means trade. 
The name and situation of the island are discussed by Ferguson (see 
Appendix A) in his introduction. 

1 Ferguson, p. 41. 

2 His narrative is printed in Ramusio, vol. i. 


next Portuguese fleet was blockaded at Tamao. Tidings 
had come that the Emperor was dead, and all foreigners 
were commanded to advertise their regret by leaving the 
country. The Portuguese, seeing their holds half-empty, 
refused to comply. In the end they were glad to escape 
with the loss of many killed and prisoners. 

Thenceforward it was enacted that any ship entering 
a Chinese port with a foreign devil aboard should be con- 
fiscated. Fr. Caspar de Santa Cruz, whose Tractado . . . 
de China, etc., was published at Evora in 1569, declares that 
the Chinese " through hatred and abhorrence now called 
the Portuguese fdcui, or men of the devil." This appears to 
to be the first notice of the term fan kwei, " foreign devil," 
as applied to a European. Couto asserts that an imperial 
ordinance, forbidding ** the men with the beards and the 
large eyes " to enter Chinese territory, was inscribed in 
golden letters on the gates of Canton. 

Meanwhile Thome Pires and his retinue remained behind. 
They reached " Piquim " only to find themselves mis- 
trusted as possible spies, and no nearer to the imperial 
presence. Thome was even denied the consolation accorded 
to other envoys, who were graciously permitted, on the 
fifteenth day of the moon, to prostrate themselves before 
the palace wall which hid the Son of Heaven from profane 
eyes. In 1524 he died in captivity. The same fate befell 
most of his retinue and their companions in misery, the 
prisoners taken in 1521. Two of these unfortunates wrote 
home in 1534 and 1536 ; by some happy chance the letters 
reached Lisbon, where they were read by the historian 
Barros, and five centuries later they reappeared in the 
Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris. 

The two letters are full of interest and pathos. It says 
much for the spirit of the writers, Vasco Calvo and Christovao 
Vieyra, who had seen their comrades tortured and mutilated, 
that they could send King Manoel a detailed scheme for 
the conquest of China. " Another India would be won," 
they write ; " there is not a Malabari that could not fight 
with forty of these men and kill them all, because they 
are just like women : they have no stomach ; simply 


outcries." The two writers grow enthusiastic over their 
scheme. In Canton, they aUege, the Indian fleets could 
be built ; wood abounds, " carpenters are as plentiful as 
vermin . . . not a Portuguese need put his hand to stone 
or wood." They fight their battles over again, and the 
letters live. One can imagine the thrill with which a 
patriotic Portuguese would hear these voices from the grave 
telKng how " Father Mergulhao died fighting " in the affray 
of 1521.^ 

The Chinese reciprocated the scorn which animated 
their prisoners. They maintained that the Portuguese 
could not fight on land, but were *' like fishes, which when 
you take them out of the water or the sea straightway 
die." Their resentment was fanned by envoys who came 
from the Raja of Bintang, son of the exiled vSultan of 
Malacca, to complain to their suzerain, the Emperor of 
China. There was also a mandarin, who stated that the 
Portuguese in Tamao had knocked off his cap and beaten 
him. The Portuguese were even accused of stealing dogs 
and eating them roasted, which does not seem the most 
atrocious of crimes. 

The fate of Thome Pires and other explorers proved no 
deterrent to traders hungry for the profits of a China voyage, 
and such adventurers as Femao Mendes Pinto — sancti- 
monious ruffians with a taste for piracy and sermons — 
found full scope for their talent in enterprises of this class. 
Avoiding the dangerous vicinity of Canton, they would 
bring-to their ocean tramps off the Fukien littoral, farther 
north, and there carry on a brisk contraband trade with 
the native smugglers. In time the policy of exclusion was 
relaxed. The Portuguese may have conceded commercial 
advantages to secure this end ; for in 1543, when Simao 
Botelho was sent to reorganize the Malacca customs service, 
he was instructed to levy duties in kind at the rate of ten 
per cent, ad valorem on all merchandise imported from 
China in Portuguese bottoms, while only six per cent, was 
to be imposed on cargo brought by the Chinese themselves. 

^ This was the Mergulhao whose gallantry at the siege of Aden has 
already been mentioned, p. 186. 


Governments do not grant such preference out of sheer 
altruism, and the Portuguese settlers who had already 
established themselves on the outer fringe of the Chinese 
Empire no doubt reaped some benefit. 

Many vessels of both nations resorted to the islands near 
the mouth of the Canton river. It is generally believed, 
however, that Ningpo, or Liampo as it appears in the 
chroniclers, was the chief centre of intercourse. Here, 
according to Mendes Pinto, more than three thousand 
Christians had settled, and had prospered until their own 
folly brought ruin. 

They do not seem to have understood their own peril, 
and treated the Chinese, citizens of the mightiest empire 
on earth, as though they were the subjects of some petty 
Indian prince, to be bullied and plundered by a factor 
and his handful of men-at-arms. A Portuguese magistrate 
who had the worst of a bargain sought to recover his money 
by violence, and brought down upon the settlement an 
army of sixty thousand Chinese, commanded by the pro- 
vincial governor. Four hours later Liampo had ceased to 

A philosophic Chinaman pronounced its epitaph with 
appropriate brevity. " Let them go on,'* he remarked, 
** for whatever they gain as brave soldiers they will lose 
as avaricious traders. They now conquer Asia. Asia 
will soon conquer them." ^ In 1547 the Portuguese obtained 
leave to settle in Changchau, where the tragedy of Liampo 
is said to have been re-enacted ; and it was not until 1557 
that they were permitted to colonize the island city of 
Macao, one of the few relics of their eastern empire which 
still remain in their possession. Meanwhile the foreign 
devils were more than ever unwelcome on the mainland, 
though still able to trade off the estuary of the Canton 
River and off the Fukien littoral. All the omens were 
unfavourable to the Jesuit mission. 

1 The epigram is reminiscent of many passages in the writings of Faria 
y Sousa, who tells the story ; and the whole history of the Liampo affair 
is open to grave suspicion. 



FRANCIS XAVIER sailed from Goa on the 25th of 
April 1552, bound for China. It had been arranged 
that he should go in the train of Diogo Pereira, a 
wealthy merchant, who was to be accredited as envoy 
from the King of Portugal to the Emperor of China. Pereira 
and his ship the Santa Cruz met the Jesuits at Malacca, 
where Francis was detained by an outbreak of plague. 
D. Pedro da Silva, a son of D. Vasco da Gama, had vacated 
the captaincy of the port, and his younger brother, D. 
Alvaro de Athayde, had succeeded him — helped to this 
office by Xavier himself, if Couto and the ecclesiastical 
writers may be trusted, which is by no means certain. 
D. Alvaro had accompanied Xavier out to India in 1542, 
and had been deprived of the ship and kept for months 
under arrest by the Admiral and Governor-designate of 
India, Martim Affonso de Sousa, a friend of the great 
missionary. The charge against him was that he had 
intended to warn his brother, D. Estevao da Gama, the 
actual Governor, that a successor was at hand. 

It seems unlikely that D. Alvaro and Francis Xavier 
can have been on terms of friendship, if the Captain in- 
herited anything of the proud and resentful temper of his 
father, D. Vasco da Gama. Whatever the cause may 
have been, a very pretty quarrel arose. Athayde claimed, 
probably with justice, the right to appoint the commander 
of the ship which would take Xavier to China ; Xavier was 
bound to Pereira by many ties of gratitude ; Pereira would 
certainly have made a profit on the voyage, and was de- 
termined to go. Athayde then caused the rudder of the 
Santa Cruz to be unshipped and set up, a visible symbol of 


triumph, in front of his own house. In reply to all protests 
he declared that Pereira was a low-bom knave, unfit to 
represent the Crown ; if Xavier wished to convert the 
heathen he would find an adequate supply in Brazil or 

Pereira then offered to pay 30,000 ducats for the privileges 
at stake ; but D. Alvaro had estimated the profits of the 
venture at 100,000, and when some highly placed officials 
laid the offer before him, he vowed they should have thirty 
thousand blows from his halberd-staff. So saying, he ran 
to take the weapon down from its peg, " which," says 
Mendes Pinto, " made them get to the door very fast." 
It is not to be supposed that Xavier softened the Captain's 
heart by offering public prayers and masses for his con- 
version. When all else failed, he produced the papal 
briefs investing him with the office of Nuncio Apostolic, 
which he had brought from Europe, and announced that 
the Captain was then and there excommunicated, as were 
all who wilfully impeded the representative of the Pope. 
D. Alvaro, however, stood his ground, and it was the Nuncio 
ApostoHc who gave way at last. He was suffered to proceed 
in the Santa Cruz, without Pereira. Thus the mission be- 
came a private enterprise instead of an embassy, and its 
chance of entering China was correspondingly diminished. 

After touching at Singapore and possibly Changchau, 
the Santa Cruz reached Shangchwan, or St John's Island, 
during the last week of August. The island was overgrown 
with brushwood, and overrun by tigers ; its trading- 
station was a cluster of wooden shanties, gambling-hells 
and grog-shops, where the gentlemen-adventurers from 
Europe foregathered to while away the intervals between 
voyages. They welcomed Francis as became dutiful sons 
of the Church, but held out no extravagant hopes of his 
success. He had been abed with fever, but landed in 
buoyant spirits, the difficulties before him awakening all 
his zest for combat. Canton was only 120 miles away, 
and the prospect of martyrdom no farther. For twenty 
piculs of pepper, a Chinese merchant had undertaken to 
convey him to Canton. The journey promised to be most 


attractively perilous, and though the first trader repudiated 
his bargain, another consented to take his place for 200 
gold pieces. 

" It is possible/' Xavier writes complacently^ " that the Chinese 
merchant after receiving the gold may throw us into the sea, or leave 
us on a desert island to conceal his crime ; and again, if we reach 
Canton, the Viceroy may put us to all kinds of unheard of tortures, 
or make slaves of us for life. It is a capital crime for a foreigner to 
enter any part of China without a passport." ^ 

But the start was always delayed : the authorities at 
Canton cut off food-supplies and reduced the settlement 
almost to famine ; a Chinese interpreter whom Xavier 
had brought from the College of St Paul inconsiderately 
forgot his native language. 

Xavier himself had no difficulty in tracing these hostile 
influences to their source. " I cannot express to you," 
he says, " how enraged the devil is that the Society should 
invade China ... it makes him rage with impotent fury, 
and lash himself up, and boil over with passion." ^ 

On clear days Xavier could almost discern the dim outhne 
of China rising beyond the strait which sunders Shangchwan 
from the mainland ; but weeks passed and brought him no 
nearer. On Sunday the 20th of November, after he had 
celebrated the early morning mass, he was again stricken 
by fever. At first he was conveyed on board the Santa 
Cruz, but he was unable to bear the rocking of the ship. 
Then Jorge Alvares, the master of a Portuguese barque, 
gave him shelter in his hut, and persuaded him to let him- 
self be bled ; but Xavier fainted under the operation, 
which only intensified his fever. He lay in the hut all day 
long, gazing at the sky through the aperture which served 
as a window and talking to a small crucifix which he held. 
His mental powers began to ebb ; in his dehrium he spoke 
aloud of China, the Land of Promise which he was never 
to enter and conquer. All his speech was in Latin. After 
a time he regained consciousness ,and ordered that his vest- 
ments and the consecrated vessels for mass should be 

* Coleridge, vol. ii. p. 550. * Id. p. 565. 


transferred to the Santa Cruz ; but this transient recovery 
was soon followed by a relapse, and on Friday the 2nd of 
December, about two o'clock in the afternoon, Francis 
Xavier died. 

On the next Sunday he was buried on the summit of a 
knoll overlooking the sea. Two half-castes bore the coffin, 
and only the Chinese interpreter and the pilot of the Santa 
Cruz followed it to the grave. A wooden cross, and a mound 
of stones, over his head and feet, marked where the Apostle 
of the Indies lay. But in the ensuing spring the body was 
exhumed, and conveyed to Goa, where it was reinterred 
with magnificent ceremony in the Jesuits' church. 

It wiU not perhaps be superfluous to attempt some 
estimate of Xavier's work and character ; for these topics 
have been discussed in too partisan a spirit by all his modem 
English biographers save one — Sir James Stephen, whose 
brilliant and sympathetic essay entitled The Founders of 
Jesuitism was first published in its final form some sixty 
years ago.^ 

Xavier's opinion of the Eastern religions which he en- 
countered was imswervingly hostile, and he made no 
attempt to emulate his famous fellow-countryman, Ramon 
de Lull, who had preluded his mission to the Moors by an 
endeavour to gain some insight into their own creed. The 
Apostle of the Indies chose to wrestle blindfold against 
unknown adversaries. It is fair to ask what such a critic 
as he would have replied if confronted with those chapters 
in the Koran which soar to a height hardly surpassed by 
the most sublime pages of Isaiah and Ezekiel. In the later 
literature of Islam, how would he have regarded the Math- 
nawi of Jalal ud-Din, with their mystical and rarefied philo- 
sophy ? The Mathnawi tell of the Beloved whose door 
remained shut fast until, in answer to the challenge Who is 
there ? the Lover could truthfully answer not. It is I, but It 
is Thou. Ramon de Lull would have understood such a pas- 
sage, for it is conceived in the spirit of his own book of the 
** Friend and the Beloved," being allegorical of the soul 

1 In his Essays in Ecclesiastical Biography, London, 1849. It originally 
appeared in the Edinburgh Review. 


on its pilgrimage towards God, and of a unity embracing 
all that is divine within and beyond humanity. Luis de 
Le6n and St Theresa might also have understood. But 
it would have been incomprehensible to almost any other 
theologian trained in the schools of the West. Yet it 
contains the key to the mystical doctrine which is expressed 
in the very name of Islam, " Resignation " — a doctrine 
common to all the higher creeds, for it means self-surrender 
to the divine will. 

In Portuguese India there was none who took the trouble 
to understand the Oriental religions, among many who 
were zealous to supersede them. Men looked at every 
Oriental idea from without, never lifting aside the em- 
broideries of sensuous imagery with which the East loves 
to veil its thought and faith from profane eyes. When the 
Persian poets wrote mystically of life and fate, untaught 
Western ears could only catch the praises of wine drunk in 
cool rose-gardens. That the Portuguese lacked insight 
into the spirit of Islam is less astonishing when their igno- 
rance even of its law and custom is remembered. Couto 
asserts that the Muslims at the second siege of Diu bore into 
battle a flag with the portrait of Muhammad painted upon 
it.^ Andrade credits D. Joao de Castro with having sprinkled 
the blood of cows over certain mosques, because the Muham- 
madans venerated cattle as the depositaries of their own 
souls. From the very first it was the same with Hinduism. 
Vasco da Gama and his men cheerfully worshipped in a 
Hindu temple, under the impression that it was a sort of 
Christian church ; and when the error was detected, 
Europeans came to regard Hinduism and even Buddhism, 
the most humane and not the least intellectual of religions, 
as mere grossness and idolatry. 

Xavier bluntly declares that ** the gods of the heathen 
are all devils, and their prayers an abomination in the sight 
of God." In Japan he judged Buddhism by the immorahty 
of the Buddhist monks and nuns : an Oriental visitor to 
Europe, judging the doctrine of Christ by the customs of 

1 Even Correa makes this error, after a lifetime spent in the East. See 
Stanley's Correa, p. 372. 


the laxer convents, might have reached an equally valuable 
conclusion. In his opinion of the Chinese Xavier inclined 
to leniency ; in Japan he had heard much of their learning 
and piety, and some fragments of condensed wisdom may 
have come within his ken, such as the Taoist maxim, " He 
is the great man who has preserved the heart of his child- 
hood," or the Confucian version of the '* golden rule " — 
" Do not unto others what thou wouldst abhor if done to 
thyself." The homely lore of the Chinese sages was less 
alien from his mind than the more speculative beliefs of 
Buddhism and Islam. But on the whole his attitude 
towards every creed outside the pale of his own Church 
was that of a Hellene to " barbarians " or of a Musalman 
to *' kafirs " — a mental attitude varying from sincere but 
ignorant pity to fierce hatred. 

In consequence, it was upon the externals and not upon 
the spirit of Oriental creeds that Xavier was compelled to 
concentrate his attack. His most destructive arguments 
were aimed against customs and ceremonies, or the distorted 
versions of doctrine which were supplied by untaught 
natives and prejudiced Europeans ; for there is no evidence 
to show that he had any frequent intercourse with educated 
Muslims or Hindus. 

It was not for this reason only that his Indian converts 
belonged almost exclusively to the lower castes. The caste- 
system has ever been the ally, up to a certain point, of im- 
ported creeds. Men and women bound for life to a calling 
which their countrymen viewed with loathing, were naturally 
glad to embrace Christianity and the hope of a career. 
In Portuguese India, moreover, the state stood ready to 
reward the pious convert and to punish the recalcitrant. 

His lack of sympathetic insight into alien minds, his 
reliance upon force, and his attempt to subordinate secular 
to ecclesiastical interests do seriously detract ^om the 
fame of the Apostle of the Indies. Nevertheless^ if the mere" 
magnitude of his labours be considered, Francis Xavier 
has had no rival in modem times. Jesuit annalists credit 
him with the salvation of 700,000 souls in some ten years. 
While statistics are absurd, the number of his converts 


must have been enormous, f though allowance should be 
made for the reckoning of babies in arms — facere Christianos 
is the optimi^ic synonym for infant baptism used by 
Xavier himself j The area over which he toiled and the 
perils and hindfances he surmounted are surely unsurpassed 
in the history of missions. Only to travel from Rome to 
Lisbon, and thence by the Cape to Goa, Malacca, Amboyna 
and Japan took more than two years, if the winds blew fair, 
and no mishap delayed the voyage. Yet while Xavier 
journeyed from city to city at the end of the world, preach- 
ing, catechizing, baptizing, tending the sick and leaving 
behind him in each place the rudiments of a Christian 
community, he found time to direct the large interests en- 
trusted to him as representative of the Pope ^nd Superior 
of the Society of Jesus in India) and still to keep in touch with 
Rome and Lisbon. 

His energy was always at white heat. In most of his 
letters there is a note of disappointment at the slow pro- 
gress achieved, an impatience for some sphere — in Ethiopia, 
Japan, or China — where his activities might have free play. 
His ability hardly fell short of his energy, but it was not 
these qualities alone that gave him ascendancy over the 
minds of men and women. He held them by the spell of 
personal charm. The blue-eyed, white-haired priest, with 
his drawn, ascetic face, his diminutive stature ^ and his 
known desire for martyrdom, was not as other men^) In 
some of the slums of our western cities a special reverence 
is paid to celibate clergy as to beings who have risen above 
the passions and frailties of their fellows. Francis Xavier, 
with his air of otherworldliness, inspired a like respect. 
His worn cassock hardly covered a frame etiolated and 
refined by suffering and the workings of an inward fire. 
He had proved himself fearless of death when he quelled 

^ In its present shrunken state the body of St Francis is 4-| feet long ; 
the length of the cofhn is $yo f^^t. In 1859 the body was examined by a 
committee of medical men in Goa ; a drawing of it was made subsequently 
and is lithographed in Fonseca (p. 296). I have compared this drawing 
with the portrait in Torsellino's Vida (1596), and find so strong a re- 
semblance, despite the lapse of centuries, that the portrait must be 

'p. Fram'is.'us X.^u.'ritis ju: primu.< ex Sacwtate I 

lejii ft'Acm tn hull.!'. I !.:.'\l. . Ohyt .i-.- mz.Ven-mh.i. ' 




the Maduran army v^dth a glance, or calmly ministered at 
the altar shaken by earthquake. Like any mediaeval saint, 
he had conquered the dread of pain by constant fasting, 
and scourging himself, and rejecting the pleasant things 
of Ufe. 

For all his crystal sincerity, he was touched by the 
emotional mysticism common among those who practise 
austerities of the same kind. He had his hours of rapt 
vision, when, like Moses upon Sinai, he seemed to hear the 
very voice of God. It is impossible to read many of his 
letters without being convinced that here was a man to whom 
the unseen world was as vivid and actual as the seen. 

The rumour of his miracles was probably current in his 
lifetime. When the Processes for his canonization were 
formed, all the evidence bearing upon this topic was col- 
lected from the surviving eye-witnesses, and sifted by the 
Auditors of the Rota, who drew up a list of authentic 
miracles. The gift of tongues is attributed to St Francis 
in the office of his festival, though his letters prove him no 
great Unguist. The other recorded miracles are sometimes 
of the most tremendous character, sometimes merely 
grotesque. The Relatio super sanctitate et miraculis F. 
Xaverii} compiled by the Auditors, credits Xavier with 
powers of prophecy, with restoring the dead to life and 
staying epidemics. It also tells, with no sense of bathos, 
how a crab emerged from the sea to greet him, holding in 
its claws a golden crucifix which the saint had lost at sea. 
From another source comes the anecdote of a praying- 
mantis, which alighted on Xavier's finger. The discerning 
insect at once began to intone a canticle. 

Xavier himself nowhere lays claim to miraculous power, 
except in a few cases where he succeeded in curing disease ; 
these are of a kind easily explained as faith-healing. But 
devout friends may have made him a wonder-worker against 
his will, and the fame thus acquired probably deepened the 
awe which his personality inspired. 

1 Frequently quoted by Coleridge, who states tliat he examined the 
original MS. in the Vatican Library, Similar miracles are described by 
Lucena and the other Jesuit historians. 


The figure of Francis Xavier, as it appears in the Jesuit 
histories, is larger than human. But the true secret of his 
mastery over men seems to have lain less in his prestige 
and ability than in a certain sweetness of temperament, 
as impossible to recapture and dissect as the vanished scent 
of a flower, though its shadow may be traced in the letters 
to Ignatius. It was this charm which made him more 
than a great Churchman and a saint — which won him the 
hearts of children, lepers and pirates. 




EVEN a casual tourist who enters the Cathedral of 
St Mark in Venice can hardly fail at once to be 
reminded of the East and of Africa. St Mark's 
was a shrine for the precious and fantastic treasures which 
Venetian traders brought home and consecrated as votive 
gifts. In the glittering marvels of its interior the whole 
maritime history of the republic is reflected. In like manner 
many of the older products of Venetian artificers, their 
metal-work and pottery and embroideries, are in a sense 
historical documents, eloquent of past intimacy with Egypt, 
the Levant and the remoter Orient. 

What the shores of the Eastern Mediterranean were, as a 
source of inspiration, to Venetian art, the shores of the South 
Atlantic and the Indian Ocean were to Portuguese art in 
the sixteenth century. When the wonderland of the tropics 
was suddenly opened to European eyes, men shook off the 
tcedium vitce of the Middle Ages, and awoke to the interest 
of the world about them. The botanical experiments of 
Garcia de Orta^ and the researches of D. Joao de Castro 
in the Red Sea were signs that the Portuguese had begun 
to study nature, and so to lay the foundations of modern 
science. This, indeed, is one of their chief services to the 
Europe of the Renaissance. Every forecastle hand who 
prized and brought home a branch of Indian coral, a handful 
of quartz from the Gold Coast, or a green parrot from the 
Amazon, contributed his humble share towards the same 
movement of ideas. 

As a race of seafarers, trained to note every mood of the 

^ See below, chap, xxxvi. 

l6 241 


sky and ocean on which their lives depended, and glad to 
give their attention to any novel accident which might 
break the long monotony of their voyages, the Portuguese 
learned to see with a keener, more direct, more intimate 
vision than landsmen are wont to acquire. 

In art the results were twofold — the introduction of new 
forms and ideas, and their representation in a realistic 
manner. Both tendencies are patent in the architecture, 
the goldsmith's work and pottery, the painting and the 
literature of the time. 

The architect and sculptor Andrea Contucci of Monte San 
Savino, resided in Portugal, as Vasari says, from 1485 to 
1494 ; but in spite of this Italian influence, it was long 
before the new Renaissance architecture displaced the older 
Gothic. Meanwhile, there arose an intermediate style, 
transitional between these two orders, which was named 
Manoeline or Manueline, after the reigning monarch. Its 
groundwork is flamboyant Gothic, but the round Roman 
arch appears side by side with the ogival, while Italian 
decorative forms are freely borrowed. Prince Lichnowsky, 
who visited Portugal in 1842, was further able to detect the 
presence not only of Moorish but even of Byzantine and 
Norman motives. 

So hybrid a style may not be one of the most sublime 
forms of architecture. Its elements are not always har- 
moniously blended, and thus it may lack unity of purpose 
and design. Nor has it power to express that sense of awe 
and brooding mystery which the artists of Northern Europe 
knew how to build into their shadowy cathedrals. But 
it has individuality, originality, an exquisite and fantastic 
character of its own. This distinction it owes in large 
measure to the richness and audacity of its superficial 
ornament, the carved stonework in which the wonders of 
the newly discovered coasts and islands were displayed. 

The characteristics of Manoeline may best be studied 
in the Church of the Order of Christ at Thomar, in the so- 
called Imperfect Chapels of Batalha Abbey, and, above all, 
in the Convento dos Jeronymos, a magnificent monastery 
and church facing the Tagus at Belem. 


Batalha Abbey was built to commemorate the victory 
of Aljubarrota, which liberated Portugal from the dread 
of Castilian supremacy. King Manoel founded the Jerony- 
mos as a symbol of national thanksgiving for a still greater 

Near the foreshore, on the north bank of the Tagus, 
stood a little chapel and a hostel for mariners, built by 
Prince Henry the Navigator. Here Vasco da Gama had 
spent the night before he embarked for India, and here 
King Manoel had vowed to dedicate a convent to Our 
Lady of the Sea, if she would bring the explorers safe home. 
Within a few months of their return the foundation-stone 
had been laid, and the slow trains of ox-waggons were 
discharging their load of white limestone quarried from the 
Alcantara valley. The whole fabric was constructed of 
this rare material, which retains its whiteness under the 
clear skies of Portugal. Though the plans were chiefly 
furnished by a less famous architect named Boutaca, their 
execution was finally entrusted to Joao de Castilho, supreme 
master of the Manoeline style and creator of the Church of 
Christ at Thomar. To Castilho alone is due the design of 
the exquisite cloisters — shaped like a square with blunted 
comers and encircled by an arcade in two tiers — which 
constitute the prime glory of the Jeronymos. 

In the church, and especially in the cloisters, the bizarre 
and delicate forms of Manoeline decoration may be studied 
in their most perfect development. Every accessible 
surface is so minutely sculptured that at a distance it 
appears like a web of lace, while near at hand it is seen to 
have the finish and sharp definition of carved ivory. 

The cloisters have been called ** a tropical jungle in 
stone '* ; their contrasts of relief and shadow simulate the 
effect of sunshine among leaves ; their arches recall the 
boughs of an equatorial forest, as surely as the pillared aisles 
of a Cistercian abbey bring to mind the dark woodlands 
in which the monks first fixed their hermitages. Exotic 
fruits and flowers run wild over the graceful window-shafts ; 
parrots and lories swing overhead ; here is an elephant, 
there an Indian cane-brake. Interwoven with these are 


the cross of the Order of Christ, the armillary sphere chosen 
by King Manoel as his own device, and the more conven- 
tional traceries of Gothic and Renaissance art. The 
medallions which occur at intervals show the figures of 
men from the shoulders or waist upwards — lifelike figures 
which seem, like sailor sentinels, to watch the horizon. 
Among them is a head of Vasco da Gama ; and Prince 
Henry the Navigator keeps guard over the main entance. 
The realism shown in these figures is as apparent as the 
influence of African, American and Asiatic themes. Estoy 
esperando que me hahla, *' I am waiting for it to speak to 
me," said Philip II. of Spain, no mean judge of sculpture, 
when he first saw the statue of St Jerome in one of the 
chapels. The beasts and birds are modelled with equal 
truth to nature ; and it is significant, as illustrating the 
effects of maritime discovery upon architecture, that the 
other great seafaring race of the Peninsula, the Catalans, 
reproduced their observation of living forms in almost 
the same way. 

Even the goldsmith's work of the time stood in a certain 
symbolic relation to the progress of discovery and conquest. 
Outside Portugal the plate and jewellery of the ManoeUne 
period are little known ; the more familiar chains, hearts, 
and crosses in gold or silver filigree, which tourists buy, are 
copies from Moorish designs, though their origin has by 
some been wrongly traced to India. It is especially in 
ancient church plate that the influence of the Farther 
East is to be sought. The treasure of gold brought home 
by Vasco da Gama from Kilwa was wrought into a service 
of sacred vessels ; Dr Braga has written of the exquisite 
Custodia which " synthetized the faith of the explorers 
with their heroism." Among the gifts presented to Leo X. 
in 1 5 14 was a pontifical in heavy brocade, ornamented 
with pure gold and with flowers formed of emeralds, rubies, 
pearls, diamonds and amethysts ; with this went a mitre 
and pastoral staff, rings, crosses, chalices, and censers, 
aU of beaten gold set with gems, and all emblematic of 
the Orient, laying its untold riches at the feet of the Vicar 
of Christ. 


The influence of the East on ceramics was more direct ; 
as in architecture, it resulted in the adoption of new decora- 
tive designs, such as the antelope-and-star pattern common 
in Persian pottery. But the best porcelain and faience 
produced in Portugal were of later date ; in their case it 
was only the creative impulse, and not the realization, 
which synchronized with the reign of Manoel. 

The painting of the Manoeline epoch was intensely 
national, despite its Flemish origin. During the first 
forty years of the sixteenth century the school of painters 
commonly associated with the name of Grao Vasco^ was 
producing its finest work. Though Flanders itself had 
surrendered to the spell of the ItaHan masters, Portuguese 
artists still consciously adhered to the old manner. The 
spirit which informed their work was not Italian ; itself 
an outcome of the curiosity learned by men '* for ever 
roaming with a hungry heart," its result was such realism 
as the skill of the aitists allowed. Its themes are still such 
as the Flemings might have chosen ; accessories are finished 
with the loving patience and conscientiousness which early 
Flemish painting has in common with mediaeval illumi- 
nation. But the figures, flat, stiff and crude though they 
may be, are not merely conventional types ; they are 
portraits of Portuguese men and women — women especially, 
" set," as Dr Braga says, " against a background of 
Portuguese landscape, in the opaline lights of the Portu- 
guese atmosphere." 

Quite apart from any intrinsic interest which the school 
of Grao Vasco may possess, it has in all likelihood a further 
title to attention. Just as the nascent scientific ideas ten- 
tatively seized by Castro and Orta were left to be fulfilled 
and transcended by the thinkers of other nations — Bacon, 
Descartes, Gahleo — so the naturalism nascent in Portuguese 
painting was left to be perfected by Velazquez. May 
not the realism of Velazquez, so foreign to his Spanish 

* Volumes have been written about Grao Vasco, who is usually identified 
with Vasco Fernandes of Vizeu, a painter who was probably the best repre- 
sentative, though not the creator, of a school. A list of the chief authorities 
is given in Ar. Hist. Port. I. iii. 66 seq. (1903). 


contemporaries, be more or less a national trait inherited 
through his father, Rodrigues da Silva of Oporto ? This 
claim will seem the less unreasonable if it be remembered 
that Velazquez came nearer to Portugal than to Spain 
on another side of his character. 

The Spanish painters, as a class, never " saw life steadily 
and saw it whole." They fixed their eyes with a passionate 
intentness upon a single aspect of life. Their art was the 
handmaid of the Church ; beauty of colour and form were 
subordinated to the beauty of holiness. Their pictures 
were signposts, marking the divergence of the broad and 
narrow ways. Except in a society of saints an art of this 
devotional type could hardly refrain from over-emphasizing 
the contrast between the actual world and the ideal world, 
by too much insistence upon the evil and horror of Ufe. 

Nothing illustrates the spirit in which the Spanish 
painters worked better than the picture of Death by Juan 
de Valdes Leal. Death, hugging a coffin under one arm, 
is about to extinguish a taper which glimmers over a table 
littered with diadems and precious stones. On the floor 
lies another coffin, open, and discovering the shadowed 
outline of a corpse ; and round the candle-flame appears 
the legend in ictu oculi, " in the twinkHng of an eye." 
Murillo, who said that the spectator of this picture should 
cover his nostrils, represents in his own work, delightful 
and restful though it is, an opposite weakness which resulted 
from the same narrowness of vision and intention. With 
him, sublime and sacred things became pretty, as, so often, 
the majesty of southern churches is obscured by gilt and 

Between these two extremes, a painter here and there 
— Zurbardn or Murillo at their best — might achieve the 
faultless expression of his subject-matter by some happy 
chance. There was only one artist who habitually pre- 
served a perfect balance, never lapsing into understatement 
or overstatement. The pre-eminence of Velazquez among 
Spanish painters is not so much due to any technical supe- 
riority — sleight of brushwork, science in composition or 
modelling — as to his unfailing sense of proportion. It 


was a matter of temperament rather than of dexterity. 
Critics have sought its origin in his Portuguese blood. 

The same sense of proportion, the same restraint, char- 
acterize the best Portuguese art of the sixteenth century. 
It was this subduing influence which prevented the richness 
of Manoeline sculpture from degenerating into a mere orgy 
of ornament, a precursor of that Churrigueresque archi- 
tecture which exemplifies the Spanish zest for extravagance 
at its worst. The writer of the best known, and best, 
English book on Portugal,^ has chosen the lines — 

" Climas passe, mude constellaciones, 
Golf OS innavegables navegando ..." 

with their " heroic hyperbole," as typical of the Spanish 
spirit. Camoes and Bemardim Ribeiro would have known 
better than to provoke their countrymen to laughter by 
such an outburst. From their poets, far more than from 
their statesmen, the Portuguese required clear thinking 
and logic. They also required faultlessly correct expression. 
To this extent they anticipated the canons of the Augustan 
Age in England and France ; and that is one reason why 
The Lusiads was so popular in those countries while the 
ideals of the eighteenth century remained in vogue. 

The literature of the sixteenth century, in so far as it 
was an indigenous growth, and not a mere exotic trans- 
planted from the soil of Italy or Castile, was marked by 
the same naturalism which has left its imprint on the other 

The Eclogues of Bemardim Ribeiro exemplify this 
naturalism in the sincerity with which they reproduce 
Portuguese character and peasant life. Englishmen are 
apt to find fault with the best pastoral poetry of the South 
as artificial and imitative. The resemblance to Vergilian 
and Theocritean archetypes may, in the present case, 
be conceded, but does not involve any departure from 
truth. For the Portuguese countryman is by nature 
conservative, and still carves on his ex-yoke the same 
design with which the silversmiths of the twelfth century 
* Portugal, Old and New, by Oswald Crawfurd, London, 1880. 


adorned the christening-cup of Affonso Henriques, first 
ruler of independent Portugal ; in the remoter regions still 
unsubdued by bagman from Ipswich, or drummer from 
Chicago, his plough is fashioned after the manner of his 
ancestors, the Roman provincials ; his wine is matured 
according to the rules expounded by Columella in the first 
century after Christ ; the refrain he sings to his sheep, as 
they tread the threshing-floor firm and level, is probably 
even older. And he still has a genuine gift for poetry, 
and for such amoeba^an songs as Daphnis and Amyntas 
sang ; he can improvise exquisite trifles in that language 
which still echoes so closely the speech of imperial Rome. 
To put lines like 

" Os teus olhos, o menina, 
SSo gentios da Guine, 
Da Guine, por serem pretos, 
Gentios, por nSo terem fe," ^ 

into the mouth of a Wessex yokel would invite derision. 
But wherever the Latin survives, on the banks of the Rhone, 
the Tagus, or the Dimbovitza, he has preserved his ancient 
grace of thought and expression ; and the lines just quoted 
are unedited rustic verse of Portugal. In the sixteenth 
century there were, no doubt, purely artificial pastorals, 
written, like those of Sa de Miranda, under the influence of 
classical Italian models ; but the best work of Bemardim 
Ribeiro exhibits all the naturalism and sharp-sightedness 
of the age of discovery. 

Still more clearly is this true of the autos (dramatic 
pieces) of Gil Vicente, who lived from 1470 to 1540, and 
delighted the courts of Manoel and John III. with his 
talents as playwright and actor. Vicente is one of the 
great figures of the age. It is strange that he, who took so 
prominent a part in the development of European drama, 
should have been so neglected by its chroniclers ; perhaps 
the omission is due to the fact that his topical allusiveness 

^ " Maiden, your eyes are heathen of Guinea ; of Guinea, for their 
blackness — heathen, because they keep no faith." The original is quoted 
by Oswald Craufurd in The Nineteenth Century and After, vol. Ixiii. 
p. 7Z' 


and the form of his redondilha verse make him unusually 
difficult to translate. Forty-four of his autos have survived, 
eleven written in CastiHan, fourteen in Portuguese, the rest 
in both languages. Despite this concession to the mode 
of the day, the autos are in a real sense national, although 
some of the earlier ones betray the influence of the Spaniard 
Juan de Encina, while others were evidently inspired by 
Dante. Even the sacred pieces, such as the " Auto of the 
Wise Kings," which were written to be performed on Church 
festivals — Christmas, Twelfth-Night, Corpus Christi — and 
were akin to the moralities and mysteries of the Middle 
Ages — even these are full of unforeseen flashes of satire 
or humour, which bring them into touch with the daily 
life of the nation. Life is, indeed, the keynote of Vicente's 
work, whether sacred drama, comedy, or farce. For sheer 
vivid vitality, as for irony, for mordant wit, for Rabelaisian 
laughter, no European playwright of the time produced 
anything to compare with his sketches of the amorous, 
needy squire and his ragged retinue, of the lax clergy and 
their mistresses, the magistrates who knew no law, the 
charlatan doctors, the pilots who flung away ships and 
human lives on the voyage to India, the poor Jewish tailor,^ 
the gipsies. Bishop Bale's Kynge Johan, half morality, 
half historical drama, was the most famous contemporary 
play of English authorship ; set beside the meanest of the 
autos it seems insufferably tame and wooden. ^ 

It is only in a secondary sense that the art of Ribeiro and 
Vicente illustrates the change of mental outlook wrought 
in their countrymen by a hundred years of discovery and 
conquest. With Luiz de Camoes it is otherwise. His 
Lusiads fills in Portuguese literature the same place that 
belongs to the Convento dos Jeronymos in Portuguese 
architecture. It is a direct outcome and expression of 
the spirit of maritime adventure. ^ 

^ Twice, in 1506 and 1531, Gil Vicente denounced the persecution of the 
Jews with the most outspoken courage. 

* Even the " interludes " of John Hey wood, though they approach 
more nearly to the spirit of Vicente's work, are far inferior in dramatic 



THE ancestral home of the house of Camoes stood 
not far from the Galician promontory of Finisterre, in 
a land of sea-mist and rain, and salt, north-westerly 
gales. It was a fit cradle for the race that was destined 
to produce the greatest poet of the sea since Homer. 

Poetry, patriotism and maritime adventure were in the 
blood of Luiz. The founder of his family, Vasco Pires 
de Camoes, was a warrior fidalgo and a troubadour, who 
emigrated in 1370 from his native GaHcia to Portugal. 
His lyrics, national in spirit and form, helped the singers 
of his own and his adopted country to repulse the influence 
of the Breton lais and the Dantesque allegories in rhyme 
which were then in vogue. Joao Gongalves Zarco, the Portu- 
guese discoverer of Madeira, was also an ancestor of Luiz 
de Camoes, though not in the direct line ; while the poet's 
grandfather, Antao Vaz de Camoes, served under Albu- 
querque in the Arabian Sea. He wedded D. Guiomar da 
Gama, a kinswoman to Vasco da Gama, and through this 
marriage the discoverer of the sea-route to India and the 
author of The Lusiads were related. 

Two sons, Simao Vaz and Bento, were born to D. Antao and 
D. Guiomar. Bento, a younger son with no fortune, sought 
a career in the Augustinian priory of Santa Cruz in Coimbra, 
a rich foundation at which many cadets of the fidalguia 
were professed, and many of their elder brothers grounded 
in letras e virtudes. Simao served his King at sea, and at 
the sales of merchandise from Guinea and India. He 
married Anna de Sa e Macedo, a lady of Santarem ; and his 
only child, Luiz Vaz de Camoes, was bom in Lisbon, in 1524. 

Three years afterwards, when the plague broke out in 



the capital, John III. and his court fled north to Coimbra, 
accompanied by Simao Vaz, with his wife and infant son. 

Legend, song and history had already invested the 
" Portuguese Athens " with an atmosphere of romance. 
Here Affonso Henriques held his court and defied the Moors ; 
here, in the Quinta das Lagrimas and beside the Fonte 
dos Amores, Ignez de Castro, the beautiful mistress of the 
Crown Prince Pedro, had been done to death by order of 
King Affonso IV. The city stands on a chalk ridge, whose 
southern base is washed by the lucid waters of the Mondego, 
" River of the Muses." Its houses and convents are faced 
with the white or pale-tinted plaster which accords so well 
with the dehcate half-tones of a Portuguese landscape ; 
its gardens bear comparison with those of Cintra, in which 
sub-tropical fruits and flowers — orange and loquat, aloe, 
tree-fern and bougainvillea — thrive at all seasons in the 
open, side by side with the pines and birches of Northern 
Europe. As a cathedral city and a focus of monastic 
learning, Coimbra had a further charm of its own, an air 
of serene and studious dignity. Picturesque and stately 
figures climbed its steep and stony by-ways — white-robed 
Augustinians of Santa Cruz shepherding their pupils in 
black gowns, canons secular and other magnates of the 
cathedral chapter, lordly bedels, grasping their maces and 
wearing the insignia of their office with conscious pride. 

In after life Camoes loved to dwell upon the remembrance 
of his childhood, passed in this fiorida terra, as he calls it, 
to which the advent of the court imparted a touch of 
pageantry. From his father he no doubt acquired much 
lore of the sea, of ships and of strange isles beyond the 
sunset. After his seventh birthday, at latest, he would 
be promoted from the ranks of the abecedaries, and would 
join the more advanced seekers after truth, who imbibed 
morality and a taste for Latin verse from " Gat on," or 
" Cato " — the Disticha Catonis or Cato pro Pueris, which 
successive generations of children had for centuries striven 
to write out from memory and repeat without a fault. ^ 

^ An edition annotated by Erasmus was printed by Wynkyn de Worde 
in 1513- 


It is to be hoped that he had a tutor less vivacious than 
Belial Beliagoa. 

While the youthful Luiz was thus preoccupied with slate 
and copybooks, his pastors and masters were undergoing 
the painful process of reformation. In 1527 John III. 
had thoughtfully decided to relieve the monks of Santa 
Cruz of worldly cares, by instituting a stricter conventual 
rule and confiscating no small part of their estates. At 
the same time the King saw that plague threatened to 
become endemic in Lisbon, and that a seaport had certain 
attractions of its own, potent to lure students away from 
the lectures of even the most erudite professors. He 
therefore decided to remove the university to Coimbra, 
to incorporate the schools of Santa Cruz into it, and to set 
aside for its endowment the manors and villages of which 
the monks would have no further need. 

For a decade (1527-1537), the Manoeline architects were 
kept busy in preparing for the transference. In 1530 
the College of All Saints was founded for *' honourable poor 
students " who might aspire to the mysteries of theology 
and arts ; St Michael, for theologians and canonists, was 
begun in the same year ; St John Baptist and St Augustine 
were added for the accommodation of the Lisbon scholars. 

In 1537, at the ripe age of thirteen, Luiz de Camoes 
matriculated at All Saints as an estudante honrado pobre ; 
it is probable that he was aided by the royal bounty, in 
the shape of a bursary or scholarship. In 1539, his uncle 
D. Bento was elected Prior-General of all the Angus tinian 
communities in Portugal, and during the same year was 
nominated Chancellor of the University, an office which 
he retained until 1542. It is obvious that so distinguished 
a patron could render many services to his nephew. 

Luiz spent two years over the courses of grammar -and 
rhetoric, and three more over arts, logic and natural philo- 
sophy. Coimbra had welcomed, as apostles of a new 
spirit, the forerunners of Gouvea, Buchanan and Vinet, 
who had come over from France. The old names, su('h as 
grammar and rhetoric, were retained in a system of reformed 
education, which no longer consisted merely of exercises 


in memory or verbal ingenuity, but had an organic con- 
nexion with life. Even for one who, like Luiz, did not attend 
the lectures on medicine, law and music, the range of 
instruction was encyclopaedic. Most of the poems written 
later in his life were composed far from libraries, in an age 
when books were luxuries ; yet he shows an intimate 
knowledge of classical literature and mythology, of history, 
geography, astronomy and of the literatures of Portugal, 
Spain and Italy. His familiarity with at least nineteen 
Greek and Latin authors has been demonstrated, and some 
of them must have been read in the original, as they had 
never been translated. This learning must have been 
acquired at Coimbra ; it is a testimonial not only to his 
diligence and power of memory, but equally to the thorough- 
ness with which Coimbra had realized the ideals of 

It would, however, be a mistake to suppose that all his 
time was devoted to sober study. Coimbra, like other 
universities, had its dramatic performances, often based on 
the improving comedies of Terence and Plautus. One 
such play, the Auto dos Enfatrioes, written by Luiz himself, 
has escaped the moths and worms. It treats of the con- 
descension which Jupiter displayed towards the lovely 
Alcmena, after assuming the outward shape of her lawful 
husband, Amphitryon. Significantly enough, its form is 
that of the national autos composed by Gil Vicente. 

The diversions of the students can be inferred from a 
series of repressive edicts issued by John III., who forbade 
undergraduates to draw their swords, even in full daylight, 
and denounced their propensity for carrying " daggers 
and poniards " beneath their gowns. Epiphany was 
celebrated by the election of a King of Fools or " Lord of 
Misrule," whose subjects were bound to justify the title. 
Music, such as the composition of jusquinas in the style 
of Josquin des Pres, and verse-making after native models, 
were by no means discountenanced ; did not the good monk 
D. Heliodoro de Paiva give lessons in counterpoint and in 
the playing of organ, harp, viol and other instruments ? 
En musica gaste mi tiempo todo, " I wasted all my time in 


music/' wrote Jorge de Montemor,^ with whom Luiz formed, 
on the banks of the Mondego, a friendship destined to 
endure. The two men were of kindred nature. Montemor, 
a brother poet, though he wrote in the fashionable Castilian, 
became one of the court musicians after he went down from 
Coimbra, and in 1543 followed in the train of Princess Mary, 
daughter of John III., when she married Prince Philip 
(afterwards Philip II.) of Spain. Thence, after the death 
of his patroness, he probably accompanied Philip to the 
English court, wandering back into the Low Countries, 
to Portugal again, and last of all to Italy. An ardent 
traveller, with the same zest for adventure that animated 
his friend, he burned incense at many wayside altars, 
loving not wisely but far too often, until, in 1561, death 
overtook him in a duel fought for the sake of some Pied- 
mont ese enchantress. 

The Muses were still considered respectable in those 
liberal days ; but dire penalties awaited the student who 
dared affix his vejamen, invectiva, or other defamatory 
lampoon, to the door-posts, or, worse still, the inner walls 
of the schools. The King also frowned upon musicas 
nodurnas ; it might well be thought unseemly that students 
should go serenading under the balconies of the Rua dos 
Grillos, which winds uphill between the sacred precincts 
of Santa Cruz and the Old Cathedral. 

Luiz of course took his share in these delights. His 
final departure from the city, in 1542, was probably hastened 
by the rudiments of a love-affair. No doubt the youthful 
troubadour, with his broad brow and chest, his curling 
hair as yellow as saffron, and his eyes of the blue-grey 
tint admired in all the classic heroines of all the Spains, 
from the Lady Dulcinea del Toboso downwards, made an 
attractive enough figure, even in academic dress. In 
Coimbra, the students still retain part of their mediaeval 
costume — a black coat buttoned to the throat and a black 
gown — though they have discarded the bag-like cap in 
which, if the tradition be sound, they were wont to collect 
alms for their fees and battels. Such attire would suit 

^ Better known by the Spanish form of his surname — Montemayor. 


Luiz, as black suits a fair woman. There is no record of the 
conquests he achieved before taking his degree as Bachelor 
of Arts, and setting out for the wide world of Lisbon ; but 
doubtless he left some Maria or Esperanga temporarily 



THE exchange from the academic groves of Coimbra 
to Lisbon, with its clamant vitality, reacted for a 
while upon the character of Luiz. His ardent and 
ambitious temperament found, for the moment, no career 
worthy of pursuit. Alone in the capital,^ he fell in with 
a set of boon-companions whose ringleader was the poet, 
playwright and wit, Antonio Ribeiro " Chiado," an unfrocked 
friar. " Chiado," or the " mocking-bird," was so called 
for his gifts of satire and mimicry. He claimed to be "a 
Golias of a toper " — em beber sou um Golias, the allusion 
being not to any Philistine feats of his own, but to a certain 
band of joyous clerks known as the Goliards, who had 
shocked northern Europe in the thirteenth century, and 
honoured as their pious founder a legendary Pope Golias. 
They sang, as an ancient Provengal ballad avers, of Dieus et 
amors, and the medley was profane. In what esteem their 
minstrelsy was held may be learned from the description 
of the Miller, in the Canterbury Tales — 

" He was a janglere and a goliardeys. 
And that was moost of synne and harlotries.'* 

Luiz, who received from Chiado the title of Tfinca- fortes, 
or " the swashbuckler,'' refused to take his new comrades 
too seriously, though he joined their revels, frequented their 
taverns and other pandemian resorts, and boasted that 
he had seen the soles of many feet while no man had seen 
his. With a fine inconsistency, he beguiled his leisure by 

^ This episode is placed by some authorities later in his life, i.e. after 
his return from Africa in 1549. I have followed the version approved 
by Dr Braga, which seems more in accordance with the evidence. 


addressing a panegyric of country pleasures to a friend 
who was bored by them. Much better, he affirmed, to 
doze in the shadow of a tree, with the sonnets of Petrarch, 
the Arcadia of Sannazaro or the Eclogues of Virgil in one's 
hand ; to listen, in a half-dream, to the lilt of running water 
or the complaint of some lovelorn shepherd. At the same 
time he showed no desire to act on these original sentiments. 

For a year he gave himself to the ribald joys of town. 
Then, on an. April day in the year 1544, came the sudden 
emotional crisis that shaped his destiny. Its cause was a 
fugitive vision of green eyes, under dark eyebrows and a 
wave of gold hair. Luiz had caught a ghmpse of Catherina 
de Athayde at her devotions in one of the chapels-royal. 

Catherina, whose name appears henceforth in a host 
of lyrics, under the anagram of Nathercia, was a maid 
of honour to the Queen, though still muito moga — little 
more than a child. She was certainly not much more than 
thirteen. Dr Braga ^ submits her mind to the test of a 
profound criterio psychologico devised by himself, and after 
citing the precedents of Beatrice and Juliet, concludes, 
sagely enough, that she was already conscious of her own 

The image of this rara e angelica figura filled Luiz with a 
new anxiety to enter the Court, which a few months previ- 
ously had seemed an appropriate foil for his eulogy of rural 
delights. His gift of song and epigram furnished him with 
a passport ; by birth he was a fidalgo with influential 
kinsmen ; and the friendships he had made at Coimbra 
would pave the way to advancement. Before the year 
ended, he was free to enter the royal palaces, to see 
Nathercia, and to win her regard. 

He came to Court when the issue of the Portuguese 
Kulturkampf was still doubtful and social life was full of 
contradiction. One coterie was deep in Loyola's Exercitia 
Spiritualia while another was joyfully absorbed in a treatise 
on the art of gallantry. Queen Catherine owned a good 
library and patronized the Muses. Princess Mary had 
surrounded herself with a circle of brilliant women, some of 

iBraga, pp. 346-351. 


whom were scholars, wits, or poets. Bullfights at Almada, 
tournaments at Almeirim, hunting at Cintra helped to kill time 
pleasantly ; there were pageants and ceremonies borrowed 
from the Provengal Courts of Love and from the ritual of 
mediaeval chivalry. Lords and ladies would assemble in the 
evenings to hear a Castilian folk-song from the lutanist 
Paula Vicente, or to dance a stately measure to some French 
ballad sung by Angela Sigea, while the moon shone over- 
head or the brave flambeaux made points of light on sword- 
hilts and jewelled hair. Sometimes the entertainment 
would be a game of " questions and answers " — a battle- 
royal of wits, in which every player strove to give the apt est 
reply to some such question as " What is Hope ? " — " What 
is Sorrow ? " — " What is Honour ? " The Cortegiano of 
Baldassare Castighone and the opening chapters of the 
Compleat Angler are well-known examples of this kind of 
disputation, of which Luisa Sigea, Angela's sister, was a 
famous exponent. Luisa was an accomplished damsel, 
and could express herself in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, 
Syriac. On one occasion she was moved to write to the 
Pope in all these languages at once. 

Versification was perhaps the most favoured pastime of 
all. Every lady and lover, in a society where love was the 
first duty of a soldier and a gentleman, exchanged rhymes, 
metrical anagrams, innumerable conceits in verse. And 
here Camoes came to the fore. The brilliant and beautiful 
D. Francisca de Aragao, a star whose adoring satellites 
were innumerable, deigned once to ask him for a poem, 
instead of waiting for the customary tribute to be offered ; 
and thenceforward his reputation was made. He became 
" the Swan of the Tagus," " the Siren of the Palace " ; 
and great was the envy felt by the Couv'c poet, Pedro de 
Andrade de Caminha, and by other aspiring rhymesters. 

But in the midst of these gaieties an austerer philosophy 
of life was gaining ground. Prince Luiz, a poet himself, 
had set the fashion by choosing a Jesuit for his Father 
Confessor, and the Exercitia were at least as well thumbed 
as the Cancioneiro. Francis Xavier had reason when he 
likened the Court of John IIL to a well-disciplined monastery. 


It was high praise from him, but there were others who 
watched the lengthening shadows with distrust. The 
King and Queen were degenerates, with the taint of murder 
and madness in their blood. John, a weak bigot, had 
already half repented of his Humanism and was soon to 
demand that the Coimbra scholars should show more zeal 
for Catholicism and less for Latinity. Catherine had 
inherited the mental instability of her mother, J nana the 
Mad, and the fanaticism as well as the culture of her grand- 
mother, Isabella the Catholic. Foreign monks and friars 
swarmed in the royal palaces. Conspicuous among them 
were the Jesuits or " Apostles," who were already planning 
to win control of all education. Castilian was the language 
of the Court, and many of the religious came also from 
Castile as agents of Charles V., seeking to subordinate 
Portugal to Spain, and to make her a pawn in the great 
game of the Counter-Reformation. 

Piety became the mode. Camoes wrote to his friend 
in the country that the high-bom dames around him were 
behaving as though they were aU honest widows or wives 
who had seen their husbands sail away for Cape Verde. 
** They never miss Wednesday at St Barbara's, Friday at 
Our Lady of Calvary, Saturday at Our Lady of Grace, 
Sunday at the Church of the Holy Ghost." If they were 
praying for a second marriage or the return of a sailor 
husband, could they do more ? 

In his opinion these rehgious ecstasies were more often 
inspired by the preacher than by the sermon. He hints, 
like any Lutheran scandal-monger, that the confessional ^ 
was a screen for quite uncanonical avowals, and that some 
of the reverend clerks would have been thoroughly at home 
with Chiado and his merry men. The official Instructions 
concerning the Affairs of Portugal given to the Papal Nuncio, 
Aloysio Lippomano, confirm the charge which Camoes 
only suggests, adding that the excessive trust which the 
King placed in friars and Jesuits had estranged the goodwill 

1 The Instrucfoes quoted in the next sentence bring this charge quite 
definitely against the King's Confessor, Brother Joao Soares, " a friar 
of little learning " — faz negocios de toda a casta ^ sob pretexto da confissdo. 


of his people, and that Portugal no longer counted among 
the great powers. As for the Queen, the Nuncio is advised 
in dealing with her " ever to make mention of conscience, 
of the other world and of the danger of heresy ; of the 
censures of the Church — in fine, of everything which instils 
terror into devout ladies." 

Rulers who had learned to cringe before a monk were no 
fit inheritors of the dominions which had been won by 
men like Gama and Albuquerque. Already the control of 
education was passing into the hands of the Jesuits, whose 
new system of teaching was cosmopolitan instead of national, 
and substituted the fear of heresy for the love of honour. ^ 
The world had changed indeed since that night when the 
laureate Garcia de Resende had charmed King John II. with 
the lyrics of Jorge de Manrique ; and the King had vowed 
that it was as clear a duty to remember such poems as to 
have the Pater Noster itself by heart. 

In time the power wielded by the Inquisition and the 
Jesuits rotted the moral fibre of Portuguese society, which, 
as Dr Braga says, it not only denationalized but actually 
dehumanized. But this calamity was still in the future. 
In the Court of John III. there were as yet many who strove 
to make life gracious and humane, and among them Camoes 
spent two years in the sunshine of Nathercia's presence. 

Meanwhile he made enemies. There were some who 
looked askance at the former associate of the Chiado ; 
others, rival poets, who envied the vogue of this upstart. 
He may also have been too little Platonic in his wooing. 
The parents and guardians of a high-born damsel would 
require a better match than this youth who had only genius 
to recommend him, nor would their anxiety be lessened by 
a recent drama in which a too enterprising gallant and a 
too kind maid of honour had played the leading parts, to 
the scandal of the Court. Thus arose the damnadas vontades, 
the ** cursed spite " to which Camoes attributed his exile 
in 1546. His own judgment had also to be blamed, for in 
the previous year he had composed the Auto del Rei Seleuco, 

^ It is only fair to add that it also substituted order and discipline for 
the chaos revealed in Buchanan's trial. 


which was founded on the story of King Antiochus of 
Syria, one of the Seleucids. Antiochus had taken the 
unusual course of marrying his own stepmother, Stratonice ; 
and the Lisbon busybodies were not long in detecting an 
allusion to King John III., whose union with Eleanor of 
Austria, his own still youthful stepmother, was said to have 
been prevented only by the interference of the Emperor 
Charles V., in 1523. 

There was a custom that no young fidalgo should be 
received at Court until he had proved his manhood in the 
desultory fighting which was always in progress between 
the Moors and the Portuguese garrisons in Morocco. This 
rule was enforced against Camoes, who had no alternative 
but to acquiesce ; and in 1547 he set sail for Africa. 

For a century, from the capture of Ceuta in 1415 to the 
capture of Azamor in 1515, the history of Portuguese arms 
in Morocco had been an almost unvarying record of victories. 
Latterly some ground had been lost and a new enemy had 
entered the lists. Ever since the taking of Cyprus in 1538, 
by Khair ed-Din Barbarossa, the Ottoman empire had 
been the strongest maritime power in the Mediterranean, 
and Turkish corsairs threatened every Christian stronghold 
along the North African seaboard. It is probable that 
Camoes went to the wars in the spirit of a crusader, feager 
to strike a blow at those historic enemies of his creed and 
country, the Muhammadans. The memory of Nathercia 
went with him, and inspired him with a longing to achieve 
renown. That desire took definite shape in Africa. 

" Um novo pensamento Amor me cria," 

he wrote to a comrade ; and that new thought, which love 
had first awakened in him in 1544, was the germ of his 

Two years, the compulsory period of service for all who 
would hold any office of profit under the Crown, passed in 
the routine of garrison duty, varied perhaps by an occasional 
lion-hunt and by skirmishes with the Moors. In one such 
affray he lost his right eye. He returned to Lisbon in 1549, 
disillusioned of his crusading hopes ; for John III. had 


wisely refused to squander his resources in an enterprise 
from which nothing more marketable than glory was to be 
gained, and had withdrawn the Portuguese garrisons from 
every fortress in Morocco except Ceuta, Tangier and Tetuan. 

On his return, Camoes was not readmitted to the palace, 
and although he probably contrived to see Nathercia and 
found her loyal, other ladies were less kind. They mocked 
at his honourable disfigurement, dubbing him " Eyeless 
Head " {Cava sem olhos) and " Devil without lights " 
{Diaho sem luzes) ; but the satire was too dull to wound, 
and Camoes retorted with good humour : " You, lady, 
are the lovely Galatea,'' he sang, " and I the wretched 

In 1550 he enlisted for India, but did not embark. There 
were many things to detain him — Nathercia, and the hope 
of a revived interest in his poetry. But hostile influences 
remained in the ascendant ; it was the year of Buchanan's 
trial. If friends at Court interceded for the poet, their 
efforts ended in failure ; and soon he was in desperate 
straits, almost penniless and with no prospect of a career. 
Worst of all was his own indiscretion ; for on the i6th of 
June 1552 he was so unwise as to intervene in a street affray 
and so unfortunate as to wound an official in the royal 
household, Gongalo Borges by name. The occasion 
heightened his offence ; it was the festival of Corpus Christi, 
when multitudes of pious holiday-makers flocked to Lisbon 
for a sight of the great religious pageant in which the King 
himself took part, walking in solemn procession with his 
nobles and officers, the clergy and the merchant gilds. 
Camoes was lodged in gcal for eight months, and only 
released after he had apologized to Borges and volunteered 
once more for service in India. He received the King's 
pardon on the 7th of March, bade a last farewell to Catherina 
de Athayde, and took up his quarters on the Sao Bento, the 
flagship of a squadron of four vessels commanded by Femao 
Alvares Cabral. On Palm Sunday, the 24th of March 1553, 
he sailed for the East. 





AS the Sao Bento crossed the bar of the Tagus and 
stood south-westward in fair weather, a group of 
disconsolate watchers Hngered on her deck until 
nightfall, straining their eyes for a farewell glimpse of the 
Cintra hills. Among them stood Camoes, who, as he 
scanned the receding shore, murmured to himself the words 
of Scipio Africanus, " Ingrata fatria, non possidetis ossa 

Many incidents and emotions of the next few months — 
the first sight of the Southern Cross, the apparition of St 
Elmo's fire hovering among the yards — are recalled in that 
wonderful Fifth Canto of The Lusiads, which chronicles 
the outward voyage of Vasco da Gama in verse full of the 
sense of lonely spaces between sky and ocean, and of the 
sound of moving waters. The poet syncretized his own 
experience with the adventures of his hero. Throughout 
the voyage his mind was busy acquiring a store of new 
impressions, material for his epic. The drifting islands 
of sea-fog passed by the Sao Bento may have suggested to 
him the character of Adamastor, the bearded and gigantic 
wraith who personifies the wild sea south of the Cape. 
Here, like Vasco da Gama before him, Camoes encountered 
heavy weather ; and the Sao Bento parted from her consorts, 
arriving alone at Goa in September. 

He was not left long in the state of unemployment which 
turned so many of his former messmates into footpads, 
or drove them to enlist in the armies of native states. To- 
wards the end of November 1553, a punitive armada was 
sent to the Malabar Coast, to break up a league of petty 
principalities which had interfered with the pepper trade. 


but two intimate friends of the poet have given Francisco 
Barreto a certificate of good character. " Never was man so 
loved and desired by the populace," D. Alvaro da Silveira 
writes in a letter to King John III., while Couto calls the 
Governor " liberal, a loyal comrade, and ever quick to 
forgive an offence." It seems certain that, instead of per- 
secuting Camoes, Barreto granted him the coveted privilege 
of dealing in China merchandise, the most lucrative com- 
merce of the time. Before he sailed, the poet sowed the 
seeds of future trouble by borrowing money from a rich 
gentleman adventurer, Miguel Rodrigues Coutinho, more 
commonly known by his nickname of Fios Seccos, " the 
Skinflint." i 

The Armada of the South touched at Malacca, and 
continued its eastward voyage through the infinitas ilhas 
of the Malay Archipelago. Camoes visited Tidore, Banda 
and Ambo3ma — islands of troubled history, where Galvao 
had conquered like a hero of romance and ruled like a saint, 
where Xavier had wrought miracles and Menezes had left 
a name at which all men shuddered. Camoes saw the crater 
of Temate hurling forth sheets of flame, and learned the 
legend of the golden birds, which were fabled to live out 
their halcyon lives in mid-air, unseen until they died and 
feU to earth. After helping to repress a mutiny, which 
had broken out among the Temate garrison, he returned 
to Malacca in 1557, with a little hoard of savings, and a 
rich store of memories. His jmresting spirit led him east 
and north again in the following year, and, after an engage- 
ment with a flotilla of Chinese pirates, he landed at Macao, 

O which had been newly ceded to his countrymen as a trading- 

^ station. Here the grottolnwhich he is said to have laboured 

e<3L, at his beloved epic may still be viewed. His five years 
of service had expired, and he could live in comfort by selling 
or exercising his commercial privilege. Tradition has 
invested him with a curious oflice, that of " trustee for the 
defunct and absent," but it is doubtful if he ever assumed' 
any such charge. Certainly he made no long stay in the 

r-» island, for he was arrested and ordered to return forthwith 

. ^ Literally " Dry Threads." 


to Malacca. The nature of his alleged offence has never 
been ascertained, nor did the poet ever undergo a trial. 
The vessel in which he sailed was struck by a typhoon off 
the Cambodian Httoral, and foundered in the estuary of 
the river Mekong ; but Camoes swam ashore, contriving 
to keep his treasured manuscript above water. This 
befell him in 1559 ; it was not until the autumn or winter of 
1560 that he again set foot in Malacca. He had probably 
worked his passage thither in some cargo-boat, either as a 
soldier or before the mast. 

Caspar Correa had married and settled down in Malacca, 
where Camoes may have examined his Lendas da India 
for Hght upon the deeds of Vasco da Gama. The poet had 
arrived at Malacca penniless, having lost all but life and 
The Lusiads under the waves of the Mekong ; but in an 
evil hour he succeeded in borrowing money from one Pedro 
Barreto Rolim. 

With this provision for the needs of the moment, he took 
ship for Goa, arriving early in June 1561. He was at once 
flung into prison, probably on the same charge which had 
caused his arrest in Macao. His friend Francisco Barreto 
was no longer in power, and even a laudatory poem 
failed to move his successor, D. Constantino de Bragan^a, 
who believed in letting the law take its course. Camoes 
was now almost at the nadir of his fortunes. Many travellers 
have seen the dark and noisome lock-up in Cintra, and have 
pitied the crowd of dirty and half-starved prisoners who 
stretch imploring hands between the bars, or fish for alms 
with a basket tied to a piece of string. Such on a larger 
plan was the common gaol in Goa, where felons, slaves and 
innocent men awaiting trial were herded together, between 
plaster walls which mouldered and grew verminous as the 
rainy season advanced.^ 

No poet had ever more thoroughly " learned in suffering 
what he taught in song." Cloister and tavern, court and 
camp, were familiar to him when first he left the Tagus, 
southward and eastward bound. Since that afternoon he 

1 Compare Claude Dellon's description of the archiepiscopal dungeon 
in Goa, Relation de V inquisition de Goa, Paris, i688, p. 47. 


had seen and endured as much as any hero of saga or 
romance. He had wandered over half the seas of the 
world, undergoing exile, imprisonment, wounds, hunger, 
shipwreck ; and through it all he had remained a singer 
like the Angel Israfel, whose heartstrings were a lute. The 
thought of Nathercia and The Lusiads had been his unfailing 
moral refuge through years of adversity. 

Now, in his prison, he was told that Nathercia was dead. 
The tidings wrung from him the famous sonnet, beginning — 

" Alma minha gentil^ que te partis te," 

which, for sincerity and sheer lyrical beauty, has rarely 
been equalled. 

Catherina de Athayde had died unmarried in 1556, the 
year of Camoes' departure in the Armada of the South. 
The cause of her death is unknown, though Dr Braga ^ 
confidently attributes it to grief at the loss of her lover, 
basing his judgment on such scraps of her handwriting as 
are extant. These have, it is true, an agitated appearance, 
but no reader whose imagination is clogged by a sense of 
humour will accept the learned critic's inference from such 
slender evidence. 

A new Viceroy, D. Francisco Coutinho, Count of Redondo, 
disembarked at Goa in September, and at once liberated 
Camoes, whom he had known^as a favourite of the Lisbon 
Court. Unfortunately the Viceroy's namesake,^ " Fios 
Seccos," reappeared about the same time, and demanded 
repayment of the capital which he had lent Camoes in 1556. 
Once more the poet found himself under arrest and without 
the means to purchase liberty. He accordingly addressed 
the Viceroy in a rhyming petition, which begins with the 
inquiry, '' What devil is so doubly damned but feels the 
edge of Fios Seccos' sword ? " — and closes with an execrable 
pun. Some of his friends in Goa either backed the ap- 
peal or paid the debt, with the result that " Fios Seccos " 

1 Braga, p. 645. 

2 Camoes' creditors, Miguel Rodrigues Coutinho and Pedro Barreto 
Rolim, must be distinguished from the Viceroy of India, D. Francisco 
Coutinho and the Governor, Francisco Barreto. 


released his prey. Camoes proved his gratitude by inviting 
his friends to the famous Convite das Trovas, a banquet 
at which every invited guest found, on Hfting his cover, a 
neat epigram in verse served as the first course. This 
feast of reason took place early in December 1562. The 
death of Nathercia had, in all likelihood, robbed Camoes of 
his eagerness to return home, the Viceroy gave him employ- 
ment, and the companionship of a brilliant circle of friends 
helped to make life in Goa less arid than of old. 

Of his associates at this period, the most remarkable 
was Garcia de Orta, a botanist and physician, who holds 
a permanent place in the annals of medical science. Born 
in 1490, about the same time as Paracelsus and Copernicus, 
he belonged to a generation which had begun to breathe 
the air of intellectual freedom. After studying his pro- 
fession at the Spanish Universities of Alcala de Henares 
and Salamanca, he was licensed to practise in Portugal, 
and lectured at Lisbon University from 1532 to 1534. 
At this period the medical world was rent by a great con- 
troversy. The groundwork of fifteenth-century practice 
had been laid in the mediaeval Arabian schools, where 
Avicenna and Abu Bakr had interpreted and enlarged the 
teaching of Aristotle and his forerunners. But with the 
Revival of Learning and the discovery of many unknown 
treatises on medical science, notably those of Celsus, there 
arose a demand for the uncorrupted lore of the ancients. 
The works of Hippocrates and Galen were re-edited, ex- 
plained, translated into Latin ; a stream of original texts 
issued from the Aldine Press ; Servetus and the Hellenists 
dehvered a furious onslaught on the Arabists, who retaliated 
with delightful venom. Only Paracelsus stood scornfully 
aloof, absorbed in his own dogmatic theories, and vowing 
that his shoe-buckles — the shoe-buckles of Philippus 
Aureolus Paracelsus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohen- 
heim — contained more medical knowledge than all the 
treatises of Galen and Avicenna put together. 

Garcia de Orta distrusted the new school ; it seemed to 
him to have gone back to the rudiments from which Arabian 
science had started. But he was more than a mere partisan ; 


and in 1534 he sailed to India to make an exhaustive 
practical test of his beliefs, in lands " where," as Diogo de 
Couto said, " there was no Inquisition " to ferret out the 
skeleton from every doctor's cupboard. 

Orta roamed from city to city, noting the properties of 
plants, experimenting with new drugs and systems of 
treatment. He estabHshed a botanical garden where 
Bombay now stands. In an age in which every idea tainted 
with novelty was subjected to a rigorous quarantine, his 
scientific habit of thought was so rare that even Luther 
could claim to have demolished the revolutionary doctrine 
that the earth moves round the sun, by simply quoting one 
text of Holy Writ : " The sun stood still in the valley of 
Ajalon." The Scriptures would evidently have declared 
that the earth stood still, if this new-fangled theory of the 
planets were correct. 

Orta forsook authority for nature, and his patients re- 
covered with a speed hardly respectful to the wisdom of 
the past. Convalescent Rajas and Amirs rewarded him 
with huge fees, and at last, after nearly thirty years, he 
returned to Goa with a fortune and a manuscript which 
embodied the results of his research. His ** Colloquies 
of the Drugs and Simples of India " introduced Nux vomica 
to the pharmacopoeia, and contained the first exact account 
of the symptoms of Asiatic cholera ; completed about 1561, 
they exemplify that method of observation and experiment 
which Francis Bacon, bom in the same year, was the first 
to formulate. The book is written as a dialogue, so as to 
represent the views of both Arabists and Hellenists. Its 
range is far wider than the title suggests, for although he 
was a specialist, Garcia de Orta was also a true son of the 
Renaissance, with all its catholicity of interest ; and his 
Colloquies are rich in notices of Indian creeds, manners, 
races and history. 

Through his own intimacy with the Viceroy, Camoes was 
able to serve the rich and famous doctor, who had come to 
Goa to secure the publication of the Colloquies, with three 
years' copyright and a licence from the Holy Office. The 
grant of copyright was obtained on the 5th of November 


1562, and the book emerged unscathed from the censor's 
office on the loth of April 1563. Dr Braga declares ^ that 
the Colloquies and The Lusiads must be classed together as 
the two supreme expressions of the Portuguese genius, in 
science and in literature respectively. The friendship 
between the two authors is commemorated in an ode of 
classical frigidity, which avers that Orta, inspired by the 
'' Gangetic Muses," had outstripped Chiron himself in the 
art of healing. 

In 1564 Camoes made the acquaintance of Diogo de 
Couto, that brilliant young writer who afterwards became 
celebrated as the author of the later Decadas da Asia, 
and of the Soldado Pradico.^ Friendship soon sprang up 
between the pair ; Couto read The Lusiads and undertook 
to write a commentary on it, even completing this task 
as far as the Fifth Canto, though every fragment of his 
work subsequently perished. 

In March of the same year, D. Antao de Noronha, who 
had been Camoes' companion in arms at Ceuta and aboard 
the Armada of the North, came to Goa as Viceroy. He 
demanded a set of verses, received an ode, and paid for it 
cheaply by offering his old friend the post of factor at Chaul, 
so soon as it should fall vacant. This honour Camoes 
might have accepted for his heirs. To himself it was use- 
less, for there was already an interminable list of candidates 
for the vacancy ; each of these had a prior claim to the 
spoils of office, and each in turn must enjoy them for three 
long years before the poet could fatten on what was left. 

So, after fourteen years in the East, Camoes at last 
turned homeward in 1567. He could see no promise of a 
career in India ; many of his friends were dead or back in 
Lisbon ; and he too may well have desired to revisit his 
native country once more and there to pubHsh his epic. 

But on the homeward voyage he was detained at Mozam- 
bique ; for since 1560 he had owed a sum of 200 cruzados 
(£53> 6s. 8d.) to Pedro Barreto Rohm, who was now Gover- 
nor of Mozambique. More than a year later D. Antao de 
Noronha found Camoes still there, so poor that he was 

* Braga, p. 6^6. * See Appendix A, i. 


dependent on the charity of his friends, even for food. 
The poet was then working hard at The Lusiads and at his 
Parnaso, a collection of lyrical pieces. ^ He was taken 
aboard the flagship and made a member of the Governor's 
mess. This was in November 1569, and in the following 
April Camoes landed at the little seaport of Cascaes, just 
outside the Tagus estuary on the north, and proceeded 
to Lisbon. 

^ Any detailed criticism of his sonnets and lyrics would be out of place 
here ; it is enough to say that even if he had never written The Lusiads, 
Camoes would still justly be considered the greatest of Portuguese poets. 



HE found Lisbon in mourning, for the bubonic 
plague had revisited Portugal in 1569. 
The conditions of Ufe in any crowded city were 
such, at this period, as to invite disease. Leprosy, small- 
pox, and ophthalmia raged at all seasons in the noisome 
alleys where the poor herded together and the rudiments 
of hygiene were unknown.^ Little children played naked 
beside the open gutters into which household refuse was 
flung from the windows, to breed flies in the sunshine or 
to be devoured by dogs, rats, and carrion-crows. When 
the plague appeared, the wisest physicians were impotent ; 
rich and poor became equal. Men and women ran shrieking 
to the churches, or loitered aimlessly about the streets — 
waiting and furtively watching one another ; each fearing at 
any moment to read his own death-sentence in his neigh- 
bour's eyes. Sudden panics arose from time to time ; it was 
whispered that wells had been poisoned by the converted 
Jews ; a mad friar announced that the end of the world 
was at hand, and thousands believed him. 

The mortahty increased as the spring days grew longer 
and the heat more sultry. A contemporary witness esti- 
mated it at 500 deaths daily throughout July, August and 
September.2 The churchyards were soon overcrowded, 

^ The learned were not much wiser. In the Oriente Conquistado of 
Francisco de Sousa (vol. i. p. 22; vol. ii. pp. 53 seq.), a temporary improve- 
ment in the health of Goa after 1510 is attributed to the introduction of 
Christianity. The author explains the subsequent outbreak of plague 
as due to the cooling of religious ardour, though he admits that the 
danger of infection may have been increased by the corpse of an elephant, 
which was left to putrefy in a pool near one of the churches. 

2 In a MS. of 1569, published by Dr R. Guimaraes in Summario da varia 
historian vol. xi. p. 160, and quoted by Braga, pp. 702-706. 

18 273 


and it became necessary to consecrate olive-groves and 
vineyards, to which the dead were carted away by convicts 
from the galleys. Some were buried where they had fallen, 
in streets or cellars ; and although the clergy displayed a 
noble self-sacrifice in ministering to sufferers, little could 
be done to stay the plague, which only began to abate with 
the advent of winter. 

It was followed by a famine, caused by the neglect of all 
industries and aggravated by debasement of the coinage. 
If the current rumour was true, quantities of inferior copper 
coins had been struck in England and smuggled into Portugal 
in bales of wool and sacks of meal, to be exchanged for silver 
and gold pieces.^ To remedy this evil, King Sebastian 
had been advised to lower the standard value of all Portu- 
guese issues in copper, and thus a pennyworth of bread 
cost nearly twopence, while trade was stagnant and wages 
were low. 

In this tragic environment, where disaster and fanaticism 
had clouded the mind of a whole nation, Camoes prepared 
to publish his epic of the Golden Age of Portugal. 

On the 24th of September 1571 he received the royal 
licence to publish The Lusiads, with copyright for ten years 
in Portugal and India. Fortunately for him, he was now 
on friendly terms with the Dominicans in Lisbon, whom 
he probably consulted before parting with his manuscript. 
The censor's verdict ran as follows : — 

" I have seen, by order of the Holy and General Inquisition, these 
ten Cantos of the Lusiadas of Luiz de Camoes, concerning the valiant 
feats of arms done by the Portuguese in Asia and Europe ; and I have 
found in them nothing scandalous, nor contrary to Faith and good 
manners ; only it seemed to me necessary to warn readers that the 
author, to magnify the difficulty of the navigation of the Portuguese 
in India, makes use of a fiction of the Gods of the Heathen. And 
inasmuch as vSt Augustine admits, among his Confessions, that in the 
books which he composed De Ordine, he invoked the Muses, being 
Goddesses, therefore, as this is Poesy and invention, and the author 
as a Poet claims only to adorn his poetic style, we hold this fable of 
the Gods in his work not to be unseemly, it being recognized as fabulous, 

^ Braga, p. 706. 


and saving the truth of our holy faith, that all the Gods of the Heathen 
are devils.^ Wherefore it seems to me that the book is worthy to be 
printed, and the author shows in it much talent, and much erudition 
in the humane sciences." ^ 

Despite these monkish pedantries Camoes was fortunate 
in his censor, Bartholomeu Ferreira. In that era of fanati- 
cism no Hberal mind was safe. In 1564 all the works of 
Clement Marot, and some of those of Boccaccio, Dante, 
Pulci and Sannazaro were placed on the Index ; in 1571 
Damiao de Goes, the greatest of Portuguese Humanists, 
was imprisoned by the Inquisition, on a charge of heresy 
brought secretly by the Jesuit Simao Rodrigues, twenty- 
six years before. But Ferreira was a man of culture and 
a bibhophile, though he wore the habit of St Dominic ; 
in that same year of 1571 he passed Bishop Osorio's out- 
spoken chronicle De Rebus Emanuelis for the press. 

The Lusiads was printed in 1572. 

Camoes was rewarded by King Sebastian with an annuity 
of fifteen milreis (£10), to be paid for three years. It was 
not a princely sum : ^ far less, indeed, than the pension 
bestowed for life on the messenger who brought to Lisbon 
the glad tidings of St Bartholomew's Night. But it placed 
Camoes beyond the reach of immediate want, and the grant 
was renewed for a second term of three years in August 
1575 and again in June 1578. Camoes probably lodged 
with his mother, occasionally seeing the friends he had 
known at court or in India. For one period of some eighteen 
months his annuity was left unpaid, and the numerous 
anecdotes of his poverty may be referred to this time.^ 
A fidalgo named Ruy Dias da Camara asked him for a transla- 
tion of the penitential Psalms, and received the answer : — 

1 Some English readers may also hesitate at this " fiction of the Gods 
of the Heathen," forgetting that Camoes wrote for an age in which educated 
people quite commonly thought in Latin. Venus and Jupiter were still 
on speaking terms with mortals, and Bacchus could appear on board a 
ship dedicated to the Archangel Gabriel without provoking a single im- 
pertinent inquiry. 

2 The document is undated, but may reasonably be assigned to the 
winter of 1571-1572. 

3 See Appendix B. 

* January 1575 to the 22nd of June 1576. 


" Sir, when I wrote my poems I was young ; I had the love of ladies 
and all that is necessary for life. And now I have neither spirit nor 
quietness of mind for anything, because I have lost all that I had ; 
and am in such misery that here is my Javanese come to ask of me 
a penny for fuel, and I have none to give him." 

According to another tradition, Camoes — 

" lived in such poverty that he could not have kept alive, had he not 
possessed a Javanese, called Antonio, whom he had brought from 
India, and who went by night to beg alms for his aid and sustenance ; 
as is clearly seen from the fact that when the Javanese died his master 
did not survive him for many months." 

Couto mentions no such attendant in his narrative of 
the voyage from India to Lisbon, and Java was not a happy 
hunting-ground for slave-raiders. Its people were, as 
Linschoten says, very stiff-necked, hart neckish en opstinaet ; 
Couto calls them '* so determined that they run amok (se 
fazem amoucos) at the sUghtest offence " ; and Galvao 
declares that " their favourite pastime is bloodshed." 
It is, however, quite possible that a stray Javanese may 
have been brought to Lisbon, and there purchased by 
Camoes ; a servant liable to run amok might well be cheap 
enough even for a poet*s purse. 

The peril of starvation had passed, but Camoes still 
suffered from the fever which had assailed him in India, 
and from a profound depression. Lisbon society reflected 
the sombre and fantastic mind of King Sebastian ; the 
light-hearted cavahers ever ready for a song or an adventure, 
whom the poet had known in his youth, were being replaced 
by a generation of fanatics, and Portugal was sinking back 
into the Middle Ages. 

The leaders of the nation, whose first duty in such a 
season of pestilence and famine was " to bury the dead 
and feed the living," were knightly mystics plunged in 
dreams of ascetic chivalry. The outcome of their visions 
was the last and most futile of the Crusades, which ended 
in the defeat and death of King Sebastian at El-Kasr el- 
Kebir, in 1578. This was followed by the accession of the 
Cardinal King Henry, a dyspeptic bigot who subsisted on 


human milk, and schemed for a union with Spain in the 
interests of the Church. In 1579 the plague broke out 
afresh, and on the last day of January 1580 the King died. 
There was no legitimate heir, and although a provisional 
Government was estabhshed, its members were pledged 
to support Philip II. of Spain, who moved towards the 
frontier at the head of his army. Those Portuguese of 
rank and influence who might still care to strike a blow 
for national independence were ordered to assume command 
of various provincial fortresses, where their eccentricity of 
patriotism could do no harm. 

Camoes, to whom the heroic past was more real and vivid 
than the present, saw his own countrymen preparing to 
welcome an aHen ruler to the throne of Affonso Henriques. 
In his eyes it was a supreme act of betrayal and apostasy. 
Towards the end of March he wrote what may weU have 
been his last letter, to D. Francisco de Almeida, one of the 
nationaHsts who had been relegated to provincial com- 
mands. A few fragments are extant. 

" Who ever heard that Fortune should care to represent so great 
a tragedy on so mean a bed ? And I, as if such did not suffice, range 
myself on her side, since to try to withstand her would seem, as it 
were, effrontery. And so I shall finish my life ; and all will see that I 
so loved my country that I was content to die not only in, but with 

A few days after these words were written, Camoes was 
removed to one of the temporary hospitals which received 
all sufferers from the plague. He hngered for some ten 
weeks, in complete seclusion from the outer world, and 
died on the loth of June 1580. 

There is extant a copy of The Lusiads once owned by 
Fray Jose Indio, a Barefooted Carmehte from Guadalajara, 
in Castile. On the fly-leaf are written the following words : — 

" How piteous a thing to behold so great a mind so meanly housed. 
I saw him die in a hospital in Lisbon, without a sheet to cover him, 
after having triumphed in Oriental India and sailed over 5,500 leagues 
of sea ; what warning so great to those who by night and by day 
weary themselves in studying without profit, as the spider spins 
her webs to catch flies ! " 


Camoes has been by general consent accorded a place 
among the four or five great epic poets of the Western world. 
The verdict of his own contemporaries was passed by a 
courtier in the train of Philip II., who declared that The 
Lusiads had but one fault : it was neither short enough to 
learn by heart nor long enough to have no end. 

It is the last great epic of maritime daring. There are 
lines in it which, as Matthew Arnold said of the Odyssey, 
seem to '* sum up the spirit of all adventure." There are 
passages in which even a landsman can almost hear the 
wind among the sails, almost feel the exultation of steering 
through seas never before whitened by the track of a ship. 

Apart from its value as literature, few poems can have 
had so deep and permanent an effect upon the life of a 
nation. During the sixty years of the " Spanish Captivity," 
The Lusiads was a voice crying in the wilderness, reminding 
the Portuguese people of its lost greatness and its ancient 
love of liberty. It was Camoes, more than any living 
statesman or soldier, who led his countrymen in the rising 
of 1640, when they began the reconquest of their inde- 
pendence. It was the statue of Camoes that was draped 
in black during the crisis of 1891, when Lisbon was threatened 
with a bombardment by the British fleet. For over three 
hundred years the influence of The Lusiads upon Portuguese 
character and ideals has been comparable with the influence 
of the Bible in England. 

The subject of the poem is simply the first voyage to 
India, preceded by a sketch of Portuguese history from the 
beginning of national life under Affonso Henriques, and 
accompanied by a forecast of the deeds of Albuquerque, 
Castro, and other great men of the sixteenth century. 
Every heroic or dramatic incident in the annals of Portugal 
is interwoven into the poem, without detriment to its unity 
of interest. The whole is a portrait gallery of heroes, 
grouped round a transfigured Vasco da Gama, who stands 
for that chivalrous valour which was the ideal of every 
noble-hearted Portuguese. 





THE personality of King Sebastian helped to bring 
about the last tragedy of Portugal. He was the 
posthumous son of Prince John, a boy of sixteen, 
whose eight brothers and sisters had all died in infancy 
or early youth ; for the rulers of Castile and Portugal had 
paid for their policy of intermarriage in the epilepsy, mad- 
ness, or premature decay of their children. 

In 1557, on the death of his grandfather John III., 
Sebastian became King. He was a child of three, flaxen- 
haired, blue-eyed and large of limb, but disfigured by the 
drooping Habsburg lip which he had inherited from his 
grandmother, Queen Catherine. During his minority, the 
government was nominally vested in Catherine and her 
brother-in-law the Cardinal Prince Henry, who were them- 
selves dominated by their Jesuit Confessors ; while another 
Jesuit, Luiz Gongalves da Camara, undertook the education 
of Sebastian. The House of Aviz had crushed the feudal 
nobility and made the monarchy almost absolute : now, 
however, the monarchy was itself controlled by the Society 
of Jesus. 

In 1568, the Cortes declared Sebastian of age. He was 
then a grave and introspective boy of fourteen, living less 
in the present than in a dream-world of his own, where 
ascetic knights still rode forth to seek the Holy Grail, or 
died to redeem Jerusalem. He longed for the day when he, 
too, might win fame or martyrdom in such an enterprise. 

Luiz Gongalves, his tutor, was one of the many nobles 
who had renounced all worldly aims in order to consecrate 
their lives to the Society of Jesus. He was ugly and elderly, 



boorish in manner, blind in one eye, and further handi- 
capped by an impediment in his speech ; but his worst 
enemies could find no flaw in the stem austerity of his life 
or the subtlety of his dialectic, and he dominated the Court 
by sheer force of intellect. 

His associate in the task of rendering Sebastian unfit to 
rule was D. Aleixo de Menezes, a veteran who had fought 
under Albuquerque. Menezes taught his pupil to excel 
in all feats of arms, and helped to inspire his passion for 
mihtary renown. 

Under these influences, Sebastian grew up resolved to 
order his conduct after the rule of those mihtary knights 
who had been vowed to poverty, chastity and a life of 
service against the Moors ; and thus, when Portugal most 
needed strength and sanity in her ruler, the supreme 
authority passed into the hands of a child and a mystic. 
An heir to the throne ^ was urgently required to save the 
nation from a Spanish dynasty, and the King was implored 
to marry ; but he contrived to elude even the most eligible 

He delegated the business of administration to the Jesuits 
and their partisans, who tampered with the coinage and 
issued various strange sumptuary edicts. They forbade 
any man to eat of more than three dishes at dinner, and 
solemnly banned the use of ** sweetmeats such as blanc- 
mange [manjar hranco), buns {holos de rodilha), or the 
like." As plague and famine had placed these deleterious 
dainties beyond reach of all but the nobles, who could 
not be compelled to forgo them, the law soon became a 
dead letter. 

Meanwhile the King retired for weeks together to his 
forests, and spent his time in spearing wild boars and shoot- 
ing wolves ; sport he regarded as a kind of ascetic disciphne 
which might serve to keep the body in due subjection. 
For the same reason he courted peril and hardship, risking 
his neck and the independence of his country by attempting 
th most hazardous feats of the bull-ring. On one occasion, 

^ Sebastian's great-uncle, the Cardinal Henry, was the only direct heir 
in the male line of Aviz. 


having ordered the Belem garrison to fire on any vessels 
which failed to give an account of themselves when chal- 
lenged, he made sure that his commands were obeyed by 
rowing past in an open boat, and as he escaped recognition, 
he was able to enjoy his baptism of fire. He fasted, scourged 
himself, and spent whole days in ecstasies of religious 
meditation. He visited Coimbra to muse on the sword 
with which Affonso Henriques had carved out a kingdom ; 
there also he chose the place for his own sepulchre. The 
royal vaults in the convent of Alcobaga were opened so 
that he might meet his ancestors face to face ; and as he 
stood in the presence of the dead, Sebastian began a loud 
oration, praising the martial exploits of Affonso HI., and 
rebuking the withered corpse of Pedro I., who had for- 
gotten the joys of conquest in the arms of Ignez de Castro. 
At Batalha Abbey a similar scene was enacted : Sebastian 
bowed low before the body of John II., whom he venerated 
as the conqueror of Arzila, the monarch who had done his 
duty best of all. 

The King's extravagances did not add to his popularity. 
Pope Pius V. and D. Jeronymo Osorio, Bishop of Silves, 
urged him to provide an heir to the throne ; confirmed 
courtiers openly regretted that the ladies did not please 
Sebastian so well as Sebastian pleased the ladies. The city 
fathers of Lisbon also ventured on a gentle remonstrance, 
and even hinted that no harm would follow if the Cortes 
were occasionally summoned ; " for," said the worthy 
aldermen, *' it is written in the Books of Joshua and Samuel 
that such assemblies were common when Israel was ruled 
by the Almighty." 

All protests proved ineffectual. Even when D. Joao 
Mascarenhas, the hero of Diu, urged Sebastian to forgo his 
plans for a crusade, the youthful monarch merely ordered 
a committee of doctors to investigate the problem, " Do 
advancing years diminish courage ? " He asked Mascarenhas 
his age, and received the curt reply, " I have twenty-five 
years of your service — and eighty for advising you not to 
invade Africa." 

In 1574 Sebastian paid a brief visit to Tangier, where he 


was entertained with a little hunting and fighting. On the 
homeward voyage he was driven by stress of weather to 
Madeira, and returned to find the capital in mourning for 
his supposed death. But this escapade only augmented 
his zeal for an African adventure. In 1576 the opportunity 
arrived, when Mulai Ahmad, a claimant to the throne of 
Morocco, promised to become a faithful vassal of the Portu- 
guese Crown if Sebastian would enable him to dispossess 
the reigning Sultan. 

Sebastian dreamed of nothing less than the capture of 
Fez and the conquest of all Morocco, forgetting that his 
own kingdom was nearly bankrupt of men and money, 
and that his armies were in Asia. He buckled on the 
historic sword of Affonso Henriques and provided himself 
with a consecrated banner upon which the royal arms were 
for the first time surmounted by an imperial crown. Thus 
equipped, he felt secure of victory, and prophesied that the 
coming campaign would be but " a brief absence." His 
cavaliers shared his enthusiasm : a valiant carpet-knight 
registered a vow that he would fry the infidel Sultan's 
ears and eat them with oil and vinegar ; a courtly piiest 
composed the sermon which was to celebrate Sebastian's 
triumphal entry into Fez. But Philip II. of Spain took a 
cynical view of the whole affair : "If Sebastian should 
win," he remarked, " we shall have a good son-in-law ; 
if he should lose, a good kingdom." 

Funds for the expedition were screwed out of the un- 
fortunate " New Christians," and on the 24th of June 1578, 
the King set sail from Lisbon with a force of about 18,000 
men, fully half of whom were untrained lads or worn-out 
veterans, while the other half consisted of foreign free-lances. 
Instead of attempting a sudden raid, Sebastian halted at 
Lagos and Cadiz, where he wasted precious time in banquets 
and tournaments ; and on his arrival at Tangier he once 
more surrendered himself to the delights of hunting. His 
next step was to transport his troops to Arzila. 

Meanwhile the reigning Sultan Mulai Abd el-Malik had 
been able to muster a force numerically superior to the 
Portuguese in every arm, even in artillery, and far better 


able to endure the hardships of a midsummer campaign 
among the mountains and deserts of Africa. Knowing 
that Sebastian's immediate objective was the seaport of 
El-Araish, on the Atlantic littoral, he offered to cede that 
city to Portugal if the King would withdraw his forces and 
conclude peace. This offer, which may have been intended 
merely to gain time, was contemptuously rejected ; nor 
would Sebastian heed the advice of Mulai Ahmad, who 
warned him not to risk an engagement far from his base 
and ships. Instead of proceeding by sea, Sebastian de- 
termined to march across the arid hill-country which rises 
between Arzila and El-Araish. After a five days' march 
rendered intolerable by heat, thirst and swarms of Muham- 
madan skirmishers, he encamped in a valley near the hamlet 
of El-Kasr el-Kebir, and ordered his parched and weary 
troops to spend the night in prayer and fasting. His 
position was strategically absurd. Behind his camp flowed 
the El-Kus, a river eighty yards wide ; both flanks could 
easily be turned, and the level ground favoured the Moorish 
cavalry. 1 

At dawn, on the 4th of August 1578, the battle began. 
Neither side knew that the Sultan had died at the same 
moment ; for Mulai Abd el-MaHk, who had long suffered 
from a mortal disease, had given orders that the news of 
his death should be concealed from his followers. The 
Portuguese charged impetuously, vainly hoping to cut 
through the Moorish squadrons which had advanced in 
crescent formation and threatened to surround the camp. 
They and their allies fought with desperate courage, but 
were unable either to break through the enveloping force 
or to stem the onrush of the Muslim cavalry. Mulai Ahmad 
was drowned in the Wady M^^hassan, an affluent of the El- 
Kus ; Sebastian, who had long before chosen for his motto 
the Petrarchan sentiment — 

" Un bel morir tutta la vita onora/' 
probably fell fighting, though the accounts of his death 

^ On the topography of the battle, see notes in Burton's Camoens, 
vol. i. p. 358. 


vary in almost every detail ; and of the entire Christian 
army not more than fifty survivors won back to the ships. 

Eighteen months afterwards, both King Manoel's dream 
of Iberian union and King Phihp's prophecy that he would 
gain " a good kingdom " had come true. But meanwhile 
a curious legend had arisen. Men refused to believe that 
Sebastian was really dead, and declared that he would 
come again to deliver Portugal, as he had returned in 1574. 
Like King Arthur in Avalon, the Rei Encuberto, or ** Hidden 
King,'* was only biding his time somewhere across the sea ; 
it might be for generations or even for centuries, but he 
would surely re turn. ^ 

From time to time pretenders appeared — among them a 
Calabrian peasant who knew no word of Portuguese — each 
claiming to be the rightful heir to the throne of Aviz.^ 
These unfortunates were duly captured and executed ; 
but " Sebastianism " became a religion, and its votaries 
were prominent not only when the " Spanish Captivity " 
was ended by the rising of 1640, but long afterwards, when- 
ever the independence of Portugal was endangered.^ 

The rapid spread of such Messianic ideas after 1578 
illustrates clearly the psychological change which had been 
effected by years of calamity, culminating in the rout of 
El-Kasr. As a nation, the Portuguese had lost the splendid 
self-reliance which had distinguished them in the days of 
discovery and conquest ; and those who still dared to hope 
at aU could see no salvation for their country except through 
a miracle. 

^ The death of Sebastian is well attested by contemporary documents. 
See, for example, J. Teixeira's De Bello Africano, Nuremberg, 1580, cap. 
xiii. p. no — " Cadaver regis Lusitani . . . inventum est per duos ipsius 
servos, captivos, quos novus rex [Ahmad ibn Muhammad, who had suc- 
ded Mulai Abd el-Malik] ea de causa miser at circa diluculum illud," 
etc. The body was buried at El-Kasr, reinterred at Ceuta, and in 1582 
removed by Philip II. to the Convento dos Jeronymos. 

2 For the details, which are very curious, see M, Miguel d'Antas, Les 
faux Don S^bastien, Paris, 1866. 

3 Burton claims to have spoken with Sebastianistas in Brazil ! Camoens, 
vol. i. p. 363. 





IT is customary to write of the downfall of the Portuguese 
empire as though it were almost a single catastrophe, 
sudden, dramatic and complete. The idea thus con- 
veyed is a misleading one. At the close of the Napoleonic 
wars, Portugal still ranked third, after Great Britain and 
Spain, among the colonial powers of Europe. What she lost 
in the first quarter of the seventeenth century was not her 
empire, but her maritime and commercial ascendancy. 
The loss was inevitable after the disaster of El-Kasr, the 
*' Spanish Captivity," and the growth of English and Dutch 
sea-power. It is, however, worth while to trace some of 
the main causes which rendered it impossible for the Portu- 
guese to make a prolonged stand against their rivals. 

Stress is always laid on the moral decadence of the nation ; 
and there can be no escape from the conclusion that the 
society which Couto, Osorio, Correa, Xavier, Camoes, Lin- 
schoten and other contemporary witnesses have criticized 
from so many points of view was one in which the seeds 
of decay had readily germinated. But the admitted defects 
in the character of the nation were not the sole cause, 
perhaps not even the main cause, of its overthrow. The 
numerical strength of the Portuguese was inadequate ; 
the movement of European commerce was against them ; 
their administrative and fiscal systems were hopelessly 
bad ; their policy towards the natives was worse. Each 
of these four points deserves some consideration. 

(i) Shortage of men. — Portugal had never made good the 
losses incurred in a thousand battles with the Moors. Slaves 
were imported from the West Coast to till the wasted fields 
of Estremadura and Alemtejo, and to breed a degenerate 



race of half-castes in the heart of the empire, while freemen 
of the old stock were daily growing fewer. All the white 
inhabitants which the kingdom then possessed could easily 
be housed in South London ; and it was hard for so small 
a nation to garrison a line of colonies extending from Brazil 
to Amboyna, and to guard every trade-route in the South 
Atlantic and Indian Ocean. War and the accidents of the 
sea thinned the ranks fast ; wounded men were treated by 
an untrained barber, with a razor for surgical outfit and 
a smear of pitch for antiseptic dressing. When the fleet 
lay becalmed and the deck-seams bubbled under an equa- 
torial sun, scurvy waited on the hands who gathered in 
the shadow of the idle sails to eat their dinner of salted 
stockfish and weevil-riddled biscuit. In the hot, breathless 
nights, the ghmmer of an oil lamp showed crew and soldiers 
cooped together in a stifling and filthy forecastle, which 
probably leaked where the dry timber had warped and 
cracked. Wine turned sour ; fish rotted as soon as it was 
caught ; the escrivdo waged a never-ending conflict with 
cockcroaches, rats and other vermin. In low latitudes 
cholera, malaria and dysentery killed more than the arrows 
and bullets of the enemy, despite the bleeding and dosing 
with decoctions of herbs which made up the art of tropical 

Even before 1525 it was impossible to furnish a full 
complement for the fleets without raising it from a lower 
class than the peasants. Recruiting-agents visited the 
gaols ; sentences of death were commuted to perpetual 
banishment ; convicts were allowed to work out their 
term in the Indian forces ; amnesties were granted to all 
criminals who would enlist, except those guilty of high 
treason and canonical offences. The most singular case 
was that of Manoel de Mendonga, who was allowed to share 
his term of nine years' transportation with his two brothers, 
each serving three years in India. 

Under this system, convicts and half-grown lads were 
called on to do the work of honest men and veterans, 
throughout the oversea empire of Portugal ; while at home 
the sources of free labour were drained dry, slaves became 


a necessity instead of a luxury, and intermarriage with 
Africans of a low type permanently injured the national 
character and physique. 

(2) CommerciaL — Because she was isolated from the rest 
of Europe, and compelled to seek her fortune across the 
Atlantic, Portugal had been the pioneer of commerce in 
Africa and India ; for the same reasons she was impotent 
to keep that commerce within her grasp. Lisbon was the 
natural home-port of all the treasure ships which returned 
from the Indies. Some years after the Dutch had broken 
the monopoly of their rivals, Cervantes could still truthfully 
describe Lisbon as " the greatest city in Europe . . . 
where the riches of the Orient are discharged for distribution 
to all the world." ^ But it was only in a Hmited sense that 
the Tagus estuary could claim to be a great centre of dis- 
tribution. To sell the bulk of their cargoes, shipmasters 
were forced, after unloading such portion as the local 
merchants could handle, to steer for some more central 

The profits of the voyage returned to Portugal in bullion, 
a result approved by the economists of the time, who con- 
fused wealth with heaps of gold and silver, and sought 
commercial prosperity, not in the exchange of commodities, 
but solely in the exchange of goods for money. Among 
the effects of this buUionist policy may be noted, first, a 
vast influx of capital, which was engrossed in a few hands 
and squandered on war, luxury, the Church, instead of 
being employed in remunerative enterprise ; and, second, 
the growth of arts, manufactures and shipping in those 
countries which purchased the tissues, foodstuffs, dyes, 
metals, and other raw materials brought by the Portuguese 
from the East and America. 

But no amount of foresight or economic science could have 
altered the situation of Portugal. The more convenient 
markets of central Europe were difficult of access, if not in- 
accessible, without the aid of middlemen. 

The main volume of the Indian trade was thus diverted 
elsewhere, and especially to the great world-mart of Antwerp, 

^ Persiles y Sigismunda, Bk. iii. chap. i. 


which not only possessed a fine harbour, close to the markets 
of central Europe by way of the Scheldt and Rhine, but 
was now the headquarters of European finance. No sea- 
port was so well equipped for the distribution of imports ; 
none had gained more advantage from the immigration of 
the exiled Portuguese Jews. For the yearly fairs of St 
Badon and Pentecost, merchants of all nations came to 
Antwerp, certain to find the wares or the customers they 
needed. Among them came the Portuguese, bringing all 
the rare and costly products of the Orient. Guicciardini ^ 
gives a long catalogue of these commodities : he mentions 
" perfect oriental pearls " and gems, gold ore and refined 
gold, ivory, amber, spices, drugs, musk, civet, aloes, incense, 
rhubarb, China-root and indigo — all these from both Asia 
and Africa ; raw sugar from Sao Thome, Guinea and Morocco ; 
wine from Madeira ; leather, gums, skins and feathers from 
North- West Africa ; salt, wine, oil, sumach and fruits from 
Portugal itself. 

John Wheeler, secretary to the Society of Merchant 
Adventurers, comments shrewdly on the disadvantages of 
the Antwerp trade to Portugal : — 

" First for the Portingall, we knowe^ that like a good simple mS, 
he sailed euerie year full hungerlie (God wotte) about three partes 
of the Earthe almoste for spyces, and when he had brought them home, 
the great ryche purses of the Aniwerpians, subiecks of the King of 
Spain, engrossed them all into their owne handes, yea oftentimes 
gave money for them beforehandes, making thereof a plain Monopolie ; 
whereby they onely gaigned, and other Nations lost." ^ 

When the intermediaries whom the Portuguese were 
forced to employ were traders so apt as those of the Nether- 
lands or England, it was unHkely that they would long 
remain mere agents. In due time they would fit out their 
own vessels, import and sell on their own behalf. By 
undertaking the whole venture of Indian traffic they could 
reduce expenses and double profits. 

^ Ludovico Guicciardini, Descrittione . . . di tutti Paesi Bassi, etc., 
Antwerp, 1567, p. 1'a/\. 

2 J. Wheeler, A Treatise of Commerce, Wherein are Shewed the Commodies 
arising by a wel ordered and ruled Trade, etc., Middelburg, 1601, p. 47. 


Their appearance in the Indian Ocean was long deferred, 
not through dread of the Portuguese navies, but by distress 
at home. The spread of Calvinism drew down the wrath of 
Spain upon the Low Countries, which were visited with 
fire and sword by the Duke of Alva and his veteran perse- 
cutors. Antwerp itself was stormed in 1576 and deUvered 
for three days to the '' Spanish Fury " ; and it was long 
before the Netherlands could so far retrieve their position 
as to be ready for new ventures overseas. But in 1595 
the first Dutch fleet rounded the Cape ; in 1602 the Dutch 
East India Company was incorporated ; in 1625 a Dutch 
settlement was made on the shores of Table Bay, and 
Portugal had lost its monopoly of the Far Eastern carrying 

(3) Administrative and Fiscal. — Two vital defects were the 
power wielded by ecclesiastics and the system by which 
officials were chosen and paid. The first, which did not 
become acute while King Manoel was alive, has already 
been illustrated, but one more example may be quoted. 
In 1560 the famous dalada or tooth of Buddha was captured 
in Ceylon, and brought to Goa by the Viceroy, D. Constantino 
de Braganga. The Raja of Pegu, who had every year sent 
envoys to pay homage at its shrine, now offered to buy it 
for 300,000 or 400,000 cruzados (£80,000 to £105,000), and 
promised to keep the Malacca garrison permanently supplied 
with provisions if his offer were accepted. India was 
bankrupt, as usual, and the fidalgos were eager to complete 
the bargain. But the ecclesiastics forbade. In the presence 
of an immense crowd, and with the Viceroy's approval, 
the Archbishop of Goa solemnly pounded the tooth to 
fragments in a mortar, 'burned the fragments in a brazier, 
and flung the residue of ashes into the river Mandavi. 
D. Constantino then ordered a commemorative escutcheon 
to be designed, on which the whole inspiring scene was 
figured — flaming brazier and Buddhists offering untold 
sums for the sacred tooth. The motto selected for this work 
of art was the cryptic legend C.C.C.C.C.; but for the bene- 
fit of the uninitiated a key was furnished, consisting of 
the words, Constantinus cupidine cceli crumenas cremavit — 



" Constantine, eager for heaven, burned the treasure." 
The whole affair was a piece of extravagance so monstrous 
that it was condemned even in Lisbon. It was also 
a failure from the missionary point of view, for the in- 
genious Sinhalese at once proclaimed that the dalada 
destroyed in Goa was a mere copy, and fabricated a new 
tooth which they passed off as the genuine one. This is 
still preserved in Kandy, where it has been venerated by 
generations of Buddhist pilgrims.^ 

The other vital defect showed itself even in Albuquerque's 
time. When a Viceroy or Governor died, the patents or 
sealed documents containing the name of his successor 
were opened, and another nominee of the Crown assumed 
office. There was little to secure continuity even of mis- 
government. The incoming despot usually began by making 
as clean a sweep as possible of his predecessor's friends 
and administrative system. This would have been an 
excellent base for reform, but as a rule the vacancies were 
filled with placemen as hungry as any they dispossessed, 
while the system underwent no very startling improvement. 
Tenure of office usually lasted for three years, and the 
grantees were expected to make the most of their oppor- 
tunity. It might be long delayed. Couto mentions the 
case of a man who received the reversion of an appointment 
to which thirty other claimants enjoyed a prior right. 
Such reversions could be sold, given, or gambled away ; 
in some cases they formed the dowries of unmarried women. 
Military posts and licences to make trading-voyages were 
treated with an equal regard to the public interest. Such 
property had a market value, and anyone might buy or 
sell it ; a hospital might be endowed with the privilege 
of slave-raiding in Monomotapa, or a community of monks 
might purchase the command of a fortress. When D. 
Garcia de Noronha became Viceroy in 1538, he declared 
that he intended to gather the fruits of fifty years' service. 
He began to recoup himself by selling every vacant office, 
civil and military, to the highest bidder, and though he 

^ A detailed account of the episode of the dalada, with a translation of 
the chief authorities, will be found in Ceylon, vol. ii. pp. 197-219. 


paid no salaries except to himself, he found no difficulty 
in disposing of his wares. 

The reason of this is to be sought in the system by which 
men were remunerated. The titular nobility and fidalgos 
received soldo, or payment based on their rank. Manti- 
mento was an allowance given for expenses such as board 
and lodging. Ordenado was the salary attached to an office. 
Percalgos were the perquisites which enabled a smart man 
of business to make a fortune in his three years' term. 
Even judges were expected to live on their percalgos, in the 
shape of bribes. Early in the seventeenth century the 
Captain of Malacca received a salary amounting to rather 
less than £300 yearly ; his annual profits were officially 
valued at £20,000. 

While the Governors and their friends grew rich, the 
common soldiers starved. Before the middle of the century 
it had become a regular custom to defer payment until 
the troops landed in India. Even then the arrears were 
often withheld for months. Meanwhile the men were left 
to fend for themselves ; some became professional thieves 
and hoohgans, some subsisted on charity, some entered 
the service of native states, or joined the nearest gang 
of pirates. A large number lived on the rich fidalgos who 
kept open house for all comers ; these men were bound 
to serve their patron as the members of a clan serve their 
hereditary chief. In 1539 D. Joao de Castro wrote to the 
King that out of 16,000 men who figured in the pay-Usts 
only 2000, apart from the garrisons of the fortresses, were 
to be found. The remainder were convenient fictions, 
designed to provide sundry officials with an enlarged 

The systematic debasement of the coinage, which also 
began before the middle of the century, was felt by all 
classes. A few sentences may be quoted to illustrate 
some of the more flagrant abuses which were rife. 

" There were three classes of coinage in circulation : (i) Good — 
which was current at its face value ; (2) Poor — current at the rate of 
the good metal the coin contained ; (3) Bad — which was not current 
at all. No prudent person received money until it had been tested 


by a shroff or money-changer. Every petty governor all over India 
coined at least his own copper, and travellers found that small change 
received in the morning was useless at the evening's halt." ^ 

(4) Native Policy. — The attitude of the Government to 
the natives provoked disaster and ultimately furnished 
the Dutch with many willing helpers. In Ceylon, for 
example, the way for an aUiance between the Dutch and 
the Kandyans was smoothed by the deeds of Jeronymo 
Azevedo in 1594. It was this humorous general who, 
punning on the Portuguese word for cocks, gallos, and its 
resemblance to the name of his native victims, the Gallas, 
'* caused his soldiers to take up children on the points of 
their spears, and bade them hark how the young cocks 
crow. ^ 

Peace was essential if Portuguese commerce were to be 
fostered and the scanty resources of the kingdom conserved ; 
instead, the Government was always embroiled with 
some Hindu or Muslim power, and could only pay the 
expenses of one campaign by the plunder got in another.^ 
The ever-growing demands of the missionaries turned 
friends into enemies ; thus the Raja of Vijayanagar, 
whose empire was a breakwater, shielding the Portuguese 
colonies from the MusHms of the North, could hardly feel 
enthusiasm for the men who persecuted, robbed and burned 
his fellow-believers. But the Portuguese went beyond this. 
If there was a chance of making any profit by raiding the 
territories of an ally, they took it. 

The Conjeveram temples in Vijayanagar were rumoured 
to contain a fabulous treasure, and no Indian city, not even 
Benares itself, was more sacred. A fair held yearly in 
August, at the full moon, drew pilgrims in tens of thousands 
to its shrines ; every worshipper, according to Correa, had 
his head shaved, and so vast was the number that the 

^ Whiteway, pp. 67-68. ^ "Ceylon," vol. ii. p. 23. 

^ The history of Malacca affords a good instance of the continuous 
character of these small but costly wars. Crawfurd (vol. ii. pp. 404-405) 
estimates that during the 130 years of Portuguese rule Malacca was 
besieged six times by the Malays of Bintang, seven times by the Achinese, 
thrice by the Javanese and twice by the Dutch. 


barbers were positively hidden by the masses of cut hair, 
while the heap of cash paid by the devout was as high as 
ten piled-up measures of wheat. Martim Affonso de Sousa, 
Governor of India from 1542 to 1545, thought that it would 
be a pious deed to spoil the heathen of these ill-gotten gains ; 
but when the Portuguese ships entered the Gulf of Manaar 
on their way up the Coromandel Coast, they were met by 
such a display of force that they dared go no further. In- 
stead, they made for a temple near Khulam (Quilon) which 
promised to yield a store of gold. Its guardians could offer 
no effectual resistance ; Martim Affonso and his suite 
entered, barred the gates, and spent the night in torturing 
the priests and digging for treasure. One gold vessel was 
their ostensible reward ; but a couple of empty powder 
casks had been taken inside the temple, and sixteen slaves 
in relays were required to carry them away. This evoked 
some comment. 

The sack of temples in an allied state and by the repre- 
sentative of the Portuguese Crown was not, of course, an 
everyday affair. It was, however, typical of the spirit 
in which many Portuguese viewed their engagements to 
native princes. Antonio Correa, who arranged a treaty 
of commerce and friendship with the Raja of Pegu, kissed 
an old song-book as he swore to keep faith. It was a hand- 
some volume, the best in his library ; moreover, the con- 
tracting parties did not intend to observe the treaty should 
it prove irksome. Officials of higher rank were not so 
scrupulous as the good Antonio. They would not have 
troubled to pick out a song-book when they wished to 
forswear themselves. Gaspar Correa relates how the 
wealthy and powerful Sultan Bahadur of Gujarat, whose 
existence was inconvenient to the Portuguese, once came 
to visit their fort at Diu, very drunk, and accompanied by 
a mere handful of guards. The weakness of the captain, 
in suffering him to depart unmolested, was deplored by the 
garrison, and Correa's own regret found vent in a phrase 
which is, to say the least, memorable — '* For our sins we 
were not allowed to seize such a chance." 

Had Portuguese rule been from the first an unbroken and 


constant tyranny, it might have been less hated. Eastern 
races have often welcomed a stern and strong despotism 
such as Albuquerque estabHshed. Almost all the later 
Viceroys were liable to be swayed by fear, favour, bribery, 
or mere caprice. When Lopo Soares, Albuquerque's 
successor, visited a small town in which twenty-four Portu- 
guese sailors had recently been killed in a riot, the head-men 
sent him three broken-down old men as the culprits. It was 
a fairly dehberate challenge, but the Governor kindly 
returned the old men and took no punitive measures. A 
massacre would hardly have injured Portuguese prestige 
to the same extent. 

The results of all this foUy and crime were none the less 
disastrous for being often difficult to trace in their under- 
ground action ; for the resentment of the natives never 
flamed forth into such a conflagration as the Mutiny ; it 
was a slow fire, which ate away the fabric of Portuguese 
supremacy, and left a mere shell untenable against the Dutch 
and English. 



THE age was one of violent ethical contrasts. The 
same men who despoiled the Hindus in Goa estab- 
lished the Brotherhood of Mercy. The Dominicans, 
for ever associated with the Inquisition at its worst, strove 
hard to lighten the sufferings of the Goanese slaves. In 
Brazil, the Jesuits successfully withstood the advocates 
of religious persecution. Francis Xavier, the friend of 
children and of all the oppressed, favoured conversion by 
force. Many an inquisitor must have entered the torture- 
chamber as calmly as a surgeon goes to the operating- 
table, and with as high a sense of duty towards the patient. 
But these antinomies were not peculiar to Portugal. 
They occurred in every European state, almost in every 
individual mind, where the ideas of the Renaissance and 
the ideas of the Middle Ages strove together for mastery. 
Even so strong a champion of the new spirit as Francis 
Bacon affirmed that torture resembled experiment as a 
means of eliciting truth. There is no figure more char- 
acteristic of Renaissance feeling, none who more aptly 
illustrates the contrasts in its morality than Benvenuto 
Cellini, who devoted such leisure as he could spare from 
sacred art to debauchery and murder, yet believed that he 
went guarded by the special favour of God, and that his 
own saintly person was at certain times encircled by an 
aureole of celestial brightness. 

These instances, which could easily be multiplied, throw 
light on one of the most curious psychological phenomena 
of the time. They show that certain humanitarian sym- 
pathies which are now common to every civilized man 
and woman were, as a rule, either absent from the best 



minds of the sixteenth century, or merely latent in them ; 
and where such as Xavier and Bacon went astray, simple 
traders and soldiers might well err. 

In this way it is fair to explain the atrocities for which 
Portugal and the rest of Europe were culpable, without 
wishing to minimize or justify them. It may well be 
that, four centuries hence, some Tibetan or Hottentot 
student will try to solve certain kindred problems of our 
own society and politics on similar Unes. He will have to 
explain the contrast between our half -grown humanitarianism 
and such institutions as the white slave traffic and sweating, 
or quite recent events in Macedonia and the Congo. The 
ethical difference between these graces of civilization and 
sundry incidents in the history of the Portuguese conquests 
is merely one of degree. 

There is an old story that a certain lady, after watching 
a performance of Antony and Cleopatra with rapt interest, 
was heard to murmur regretfully, *' How different from the 
home life of our beloved Queen Victoria." Historical 
criticism on those lines is not unknown ; but it is perhaps 
fairer to judge men according to their lights, and not by 
the standards of a later and possibly a more humane epoch. 

There is, however, no need to apologize overmuch. When 
all criticisms have been weighed and all defects discounted, 
Portugal has a past which any nation might envy. The 
annalists of the sixteenth century realized the magnitude 
of their theme. There are moments when even Barros, 
for all his stilted rhetoric, and Faria y Sousa, for all his 
bombast and sententiousness, catch fire and write with the 
march and rhythm of an epic. The story which begins 
at the siege of Ceuta and ends in the disaster of El-Kasr is, 
indeed, an epic of war and seafaring, of great men and 
great adventures. Courage and a serene magnanimity 
are the fundamental virtues it extols. It tells us little of 
the rank and file, less of the women whose destiny was to 
reward victory or console in defeat. Its interest is focussed 
upon the leaders — courtier, crusader, militant priest and 
rough sea-captain. Its hero, under many names, is the 
fidalgo, the complete gentleman, dauntless, accomplished 


and gay, by birth the equal of princes, by conviction the 
most dutiful servant of Church and Crown. Such a one 
could steer by the stars, use a sword with deadly science, 
govern a province, converse in half a dozen languages, 
compose a sonnet and play a sound game of chess. It 
has been said that the Renaissance came late into Portugal 
and went early ; but the finest bloom of the Renaissance 
spirit, its ideal of many-sided activity, remained and grew. 
Rarely has there been a society so versatile and brilliant as 
that of the fidalgos. Life has often run in a broader and 
deeper channel, not often with a more sparkling current. 
Men " warmed both hands at the fire of life " ; they knew 
how to fight and love, laugh and die. By husbanding their 
energies, and steadily devoting them to the pursuit of one 
end, they might, perhaps, have achieved a larger and more 
durable result. Critics have suggested a similar charge 
against the Elizabethans. In each case the reply is of the 
same character. Even if a career is to be judged like a 
mine or factory, merely by output, it is enough to point to 
Bacon and Raleigh, Albuquerque and Camoes. When the 
modem cult of specialism can produce men more " efficient,'* 
its advocates wiU be justified of their censure. 

Even then there will always be a few too wary or too 
young to have been caught in the machine of civilization 
and clipped to any standard type. For these there is good 
company in the pages of the old Portuguese histories, 
where one may navigate the uncharted seas with Vasco da 
Gama, improvise an empire with Albuquerque, or, with 
Camoes, turn the din of battle and shipwreck into song. 



A comprehensive bibliography of Portuguese history between 
1460 and 1580 would fill many volumes. I have confined the 
following list to works accessible in the chief public libraries — 
e.g. at the British Museum and the Bodleian — and of real value 
to any reader who may wish to make a study of the period. 

I. General Bibliography 

a. Periodicals and Collections of Documents 

Archivo Historico Portuguez. — Lisbon, monthly from 1903. How cited 
Deals with art and literature as well as history and geography, Ar. Hist. Port. 
and is now the principal medium for the reproduction of newly 
discovered MSS. 

Boletim da Sociedade de Geographia de Lishoa. — A monthly Boktim 
gazette (from 1877), containing many reprints of documents and 
articles by the foremost Portuguese geographers and historians. 
Some of the most important numbers have been reissued in 
pamphlet form. 

Archivo Portuguez Oriental. — State papers from the Goa Ar, Port. Or, 
archives, dating from 15 15. In six parts, arranged as foUows : — 

No. I (i vol.), Letters from the King to the city of Goa, 
2nd ed., 1877. 

No. 2 (i vol.). Privileges of the city and petitions to the 
Crown, 1857. 

No. 3 (2 vols.), Letters, etc., from the King to Viceroys and 
Governors, 1861. 

No. 4 (i vol.), Ecclesiastical Councils of Goa and Synod 
of Diamper, 1862. 

No. 5 (3 vols.), Miscellaneous papers, 1863. 

No. 6 (i vol.). Seventeenth-century documents. 

Subsidios para a historia da India Portugueza, ed. R. J. de Subsidios 
Lima Felner, and forming vol. v. of the Collecfao dos Monumentos 
ineditos para a historia das Conquistas dos Portuguezes em Africa, 
etc., Lisbon, Academia Real das Sciencias, 1868, contains (i) 
Livro dos pesos, medidas e moedas, by Antonio Nunes, written in 

Alguns docu 


How CITED 1554 (see Appendix B) ; (2) Four letters and the Tombo of Simao 
Botelho (see below, s.v. Botelho) ; (3) An anonymous register of 
state property dated 1525, and entitled Lembranfa das cousas 
da India. 

Alguns documentos do archivo nacional da Torre do Tombo 
dcerca das navegafoes e conquistas Portuguezas, ed. Jose Ramos 
Coelho, Lisbon, 1892. The documents date from 1416 to 1554 
and are of the highest importance. 

Memorias do Ultramar, Viagens, explorapes e conquistas 
dos Portuguezes. A collection of documents, ed. Luciano Cordeiro, 
Lisbon, 1881. 

Annaes maritimos e coloniaes, 6 vols., Lisbon 1840-46. Some 
important documents are reproduced, but the editing and arrang- 
ment are unsatisfactory. 

Giovanni Battista Ramusio, Viaggi e Navigationi, 3 vols., 
Venice, 1663. In this edition only the alternate pages are 
numbered. The collection, made in the last quarter of the 
sixteenth entury, contains numerous documents of which no 
other copies exist. 

h. Early Chronicles, Books of Travel, etc. 

The four principal chronicles are those of Barros (to 1526), 
Castanheda (to 1538), Correa (1512-1550), andCouto (1526-1580). 


Barros (i-iii.) JoSo de Barros and Diogo de (or do) Couto, Decadas, 24 vols., 
% ^c'^T ^^^ L^sbo^' 1778-88. Sub-title, Dos feitos que os Portuguezes fizeram 
na conquista, e descubrimento das terras, e mares do Oriente, 
Barros, as factor of the " House of India, Mina and Ceuta " in 
Lisbon, had access to many state papers, and his writings are of 
exceptional value. But he never visited India and his knowledge 
of Eastern affairs was slender. As a historiographer-royal, he 
was liable to strict censorship, and his choice or presentment of 
facts was designed to place his own countrymen in the most 
favourable light. Only three Decades, ending with the death 
of D. Henrique de Menezes (Feb. 2nd, 1526), were written by 
him, and pubhshed during his Ufetime, from 1552 to 1563. 
The fourth Decade is inferior : it is said to have been compiled 
from notes by Barros, and was published in 1615. 

Couto also was an official historian, but from 1556 until his 
death in 1616 he lived almost entirely in India or Malacca ; 
and where it has not been edited, his work is trustworthy. He 
began where Barros ended. The fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh 
Decades were published during his life, but the original copy of 
the sixth was destroyed before publication, in order to conciliate 


certain persons who disliked its too truthful record of their own How citbd 
exploits, and a bowdlerized version was produced by Adeodato 
da Trinidade, Couto's brother-in-law and literary executor. 
The eighth and ninth Decades were stolen in MS., but the author 
compiled an abstract of the contents, half of which was printed 
in 1673, half in 1736. The tenth Decade, though the first com- 
posed, was never published in full before 1788, The eleventh 
is missing, and only five books of the twelfth, first published in 
1645, are extant. 

Caspar Correa, Lendas da India, ed. R. J. de Lima Felner, Corria 
and forming the first four vols, of the Coll. dos Mon. we^., Lisbon, 
Ac. Real, 1858-64. Correa or Correia was an eyewitness of much 
that he describes ; his book, which deals with the period 1497- 
1550, is graphic and animated. He first visited India in 1512 
and was still writing in 1566. The date of his death is uncertain. 
As no part of the Lendas appeared while he lived, he could write 
without fear. He served as secretary to Albuquerque, and his 
last three vols., which begin with Albuquerque's term of office, 
may be trusted. Vol. i. is largely imaginative. See below, 
Special Bibliographies, s.v. Vasco da Cama. 

Fernao Lopes de Castanheda, Historia do Descobrimento e Castanheda 
Conquista da India, Lisbon, 1833. Castanheda visited India in 
1528 and remained there ten years. He collected his facts with 
diligence and good judgment. According to Couto (Dec. iv., 
Bk. v., ch. i.) the last two books of the ten originally included 
in the Historia were suppressed by order of John III. The 
first six books were published 1552-54 ; the last two in 1561. 

Duarte Pacheco Pereira, Esmeraldo de situ Orbis, ed. with notes, Esmeralda 
illustrations and many important documents, by R.E. de Azevedo 
Bastos, Lisbon, 1892. Pacheco, famous for his defence of Cochin 
in 1504, was born in Lisbon in 1450, went to India under Cabral 
in 1500 and served under Albuquerque in 1503. For some account 
of his career, see ch. xi. King Manoel commissioned him to 
write a survey of the coasts of Africa, at which he worked between 
1505 and 1520. The original MS. being lost, the printed edition 
of 1892 is made from a late sixteenth century copy. The 
Esmeraldo, though unfinished, is among the most important 
authorities for the history of Portuguese exploration. 

A. Galvano, Discoveries oj the World. Portuguese text and GalvSo 
translation, London, Hakluyt Society, 1862. The translation 
is inaccurate ; originally made for Richard Hakluyt, it was re- 
printed without correction, but has much literary charm. 


Galvao, of whom a brief account will be found in ch. xxviii., is 
trustworthy and well-informed. The first edition of his book 
was published posthumously in Lisbon, in 1563, the 2nd in 


Duarte Barbosa, A Description oj the Coasts of East Africa 
and Malabar in the beginning of the Sixteenth Century . . . trans- 
lated from an early Spanish MS. in the Barcelona Library, with 
notes and a preface by the Hon. H. E. J. Stanley, London, Hak. 
Soc, 1866. Barbosa went to India in 1500 and his book was 
written before 15 16. 

Ludovico di Varthema, The Travels of L. di Varthema in Egypt, 
Syria, Arabia Deserta, Arabia Felix, in Persia, India, and 
Ethiopia, a.d. i^oj-1^08. Translated from the original edition 
of 15 10, with a preface, by John Winter Jones ; and edited, with 
notes and an introduction, by G. P. Badger, London, Hak. Soc, 
1863. A very valuable book, although the author's account 
of his own adventures cannot be accepted without reserve, and 
the editorial matter needs revision. 

Manoel Godinho de Eredia, Malaca, VInde MSridionale et le 
Cathay, Brussels, 1882. A facsimile of Eredia's MS. {discovered 
1861, in the Royal Library, Brussels), ed. and trans, by Leon 
Janssen, with preface by C. Ruelens, maps and illustrations. 
Eredia, an ardent and intelligent explorer, was born in Goa in 
1563. See p. 203 note. 

Jan Huyghen van Linschoten, Voyage to the East Indies, The 
First Book, containing his Description of the East, 2 vols., London, 
Hak. Soc, 1885. A reprint of part of the English version of 
1598, ed. A. C. Burnell (vol. i.) and P. A. Tiele (vol. ii.). The 
original Dutch edition of 1595-96 contains interesting copper- 
plates. Linschoten, who was in Goa 1583-88, gives an invaluable 
account of manners and customs in Portuguese India. 

Jean Mocquet, Voyage en Afrique, etc, Rouen, 1645, reprinted 
1830. Mocquet travelled much in the East, visiting Goa in 
1608. He describes life in the Indo-Portuguese settlements, 
giving much curious detail. 

Francois Pyrard de Laval, Voyages, etc., Paris, 1679. Pyrard 
was in India at the same period as Mocquet, and his book is 
similar in character. 

Simao Botelho, Tombo do Estado da India, published in 
Subsidies, Lisbon, Ac Real, 1868. In the same volume are four 
of Botelho's letters {Cartas), written 1547-52. Botelho came to 
India in 1532, and held the posts of Comptroller of Revenue 
and Captain of Malacca. He was an able and honest official, 
whose writings throw much light on Portuguese finance and 


Diogo de Couto, Observafoes sobre as principaes causas da How citbd 
Decadencia dos Portuguezes na Asia, escritas em forma de dialogo -S't^/a^w^ 
com titulo de Soldado Practico, publicadas por A. Caetano do 
Amaral, Lisbon, i790- By the author of the later Decadas. 

Garcia de Orta, CoUoquios dos simples e drogas e cousas medi- Orta 
cinaes da India, Lisbon, 1872, ist ed., 1573. See ch. xxxvi. 

Fernao Mendes Pinto, Peregrinafam, Lisbon, 1614. See Pinto 
ch. xxix. 

Firishta or Ferishtah (Muhammad Kasim ibn Hindu Shah), Firishta 
History of the Rise of the Mahomedan Power in India, till the year 
161 2. Trans, from the Persian by J. Briggs, 4 vols., London, 
1829. Firishta lived c. 1550-c. 1612. In 1585 he was com- 
missioned by Ibrahim Adil Shah of Bijapur to write a history 
of the Muhammadans in India. Though he rarely, quotes an 
authority, his work serves as a useful corrective to the European 
chronicles of his time. The translation mentioned above is 
generally considered the best available, though based on in- 
complete texts and containing some matter not in the original. 

Zain al Din, Tohfat ul Mujahideen, trans, by M. J. Rowlandson, Tahafut 
Oriental Translation Fund, 1833. Describes the relations be- 
tween Portuguese and Muhammadans from 1498 to 1583. 

Damiao de Goes, Commentarius Rerum gestarum in India citra 
Gangem a Lusitanis, Louvain, 1539 ; Chronica del Rei D. foao II., 
Lisbon, 1567. Goes (1501-73) was one of the most distinguished 
of Portuguese humanists and an intimate friend of Erasmus. 
John III. (1521-57) entrusted him with diplomatic missions in 
Flanders, Poland, and Scandinavia, afterwards appointing him 
keeper of the royal archives. An enlightened thinker and erudite 
historian, he was deprived of his office and imprisoned by the 
Inquisition in 1571. For his most important chronicle see below, 

p. 307- 

Manoel de Faria y Sousa, Asta Portugueza, 3 vols., Lisbon, Faria y Sousa 
1666-75 ; trans, by Capt. J. Stevens, London, 1695. Faria y 
Sousa (1590-1649) was an industrious but somewhat uncritical 
compiler, who borrowed impartially from all his predecessors, 
and added details invented by himself. He wrote in Spanish 
and had a remarkable gift of epigram. Other works include 
Europa Portugueza, 3 vols., Lisbon, 1667 ; Africa Portugueza, 
Lisbon, 168 1 ; and Epitome de las Historias Portuguezas, Madrid, 
1628, of which there is an Enghsh version by Stevens, London, 

Ruy de Pina, Chronica do Princepe D. fodo II., 2nd ed., in Pina 
Collecf^o de livros ineditos da Historia Portugueza, vol. ii., Lisbon, 


1792. Pina was royal librarian and chronicler from 1497 until 
his death in 1521. 

Garcia de Resende, Chronica del Ret D. Jodo II., ist ed., 
Lisbon, 1545 ; numerous later editions. Resende (1470-1536) 
borrows freely from Pina, but relates many of his own experiences 
at Court. 


c. Secondary Authorities 

J. P. Oliveira Martins, Historia da civilisafdo iherica, Lisbon, 
1879 ; Historia de Portugal, 2nd. ed., 2 vols., Lisbon, 1901. 
Impressionist studies, often of great brilliancy, though inaccurate 
in detail. The author, who rarely quotes any authority except 
his own voluminous writings, was a student of national psychology, 
at his best when writing of ideas rather than events. 

J. P. Sousa Viterbo, Trabalhos nauticos dos Portuguezes, nos 
seculos xvi e xvii, etc., 2 vols., Lisbon, 1898 and 1900. Contains 
much information on the less familiar voyagers. 

R. S. Whiteway, The Rise of the Portuguese Power in India, 
1497-1550, London, 1899. The author's acquaintance with 
Indian life and thought, and his profound knowledge of the 
original Portuguese authorities, give this book a special value. 
It contains chapters on arms and methods of warfare, navigation, 
religion and coinage. 

A. C. Burnell, A Tentative List of Books and some Manuscripts 
relating to the History of the Portuguese in India Proper, Mangalore, 

J. Nicolau da Fonseca, An Historical and Archceological Sketch 
of Goa, Bombay, 1878. Originally compiled in connexion with 
the 1st ed. of the " Imperial Gazetteer of India " ; out of print and 
rare. A vast number of documents were collated by the author, 
whose work will not soon be superseded. 

Donald William Ferguson, Letters from Portuguese Captives 
in Canton. Written in i^J4 and i^j6, Bombay, 1902. The text 
of two letters written jointly by Christ ovao Vieyra and Vasco 
Calvo {see ch. xxxi.), with translation and introductory account 
of Portuguese intercourse with China up to 1550. The letters 
are important and the introduction summarizes almost all that 
is known on this obscure subject. 

John Crawfurd, History of the Indian Archipelago, 3 vols., 
London, 1820. The Portuguese period is dealt with in vol. ii. 

J. Emerson Tennent, Ceylon, 2 vols., 5th ed., London, i860. 
Vol. ii. gives the history of the Portuguese in Ceylon, quoting 
largely from native as well as European sources. 

Donald William Ferguson, The History of Ceylon from the 


Earliest Times to 1600 a.d., as related by Jodo de Barros and Diogo How cited 
do Couto, trans, and ed. D. Ferguson, in Journal oj the Ceylon 
Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, No. 60 (1909). 

II. Special Bibliographies 

These supplement, but do not as a rule supersede, the authorities 
quoted above under i a and i b. 

Prince Henry the Navigator 

Gomes Eannes de Azurara, The Chronicle of the Discovery Azurara 
and Co'iiquest oj Guinea, trans, and ed. by C. R. Beazley and 
E. Prestage, 2 vols., London, Hak. Soc, 1896-1899. Azurara 
(d. 1474) was appointed keeper of the archives and historiographer- 
royal in 1454. His chronicle is the principal authority for the 
explorations undertaken during Prince Henry's lifetime. It is 
a lively and well-informed narrative. The introductions to the 
two vols, of this edition are of great value. The original text 
(G. E. de Zurara, Chronica do Descobrimento e Conquista de 
Guine) was ed. by the Visconde de Santarem, Paris, 1841. 

The Voyages of Alvise da Ca' da Mosto, one of Prince Henry's 
captains, were first printed in Paesi novamenti retrovati et novo 
mondo de Alberico Vesputio Florentino intitulato, Vicenza, 1507 ; 
there are numerous discrepancies in later reprints, but a useful 
text will be found in vol. i. of Ramusio ; see also C. Schefer, 
Relation des voyages de Ca' da Mosto, Paris, 1895. 

The best biography is Prince Henry the Navigator, by C. R. 
Beazley (" History of the Nations Series "), London, 1895. 
Other books which should be consulted are J. P. Oliveira Martins, 
Os filhos de D. Jodo I., 2nd ed., 2 vols., Lisbon, 1901 ; R. H. 
Major, Life of Prince Henry of Portugal — a classic — London, 
1868 ; H. E. Wauvermans, Henri le Navigateur et Vacademie 
portugaise de Sagres, Brussels, 1890. 

Vasco da Gama 

A Journal of the First Voyage of Vasco da Gama, i^p^-i^pp, Roteiro 
trans, and ed. with introduction, appendices, and many illustra- 
tions and maps, by E. G. Ravenstein, London, Hak. Soc, 1898. 
This Roteiro (log-book, itinerary) was written by an unknown 
sailor aboard Gama's fleet. The critical and explanatory matter 
in Dr Ravenstein' s edition is of the highest value and interest : 
the appendices include translations of two letters written by 
King Manoel in July and August, 1499 ; of three letters written 
from Lisbon by Girolamo Sernigi about the same time, and of three 



How CITED Portuguese narratives of Gama's first voyage to India, dated 1608, 
1612 and 1646. There are two Portuguese editions of the Roteiro 
— ed. Diogo Kopke and A. da Costa Paiva, Oporto, 1838 ; and ed. 
A. Herculano and Baron do Castello de Paiva, Lisbon, 1861. 

The chief authorities for Gama's first voyage may be 
classified as follows, in order of merit — Roteiro, Castanheda, 
Barros, Goes, Osorio, Correa. 

Two descriptions of the second voyage by seamen who took 
part in it have been preserved. The first, by Thome Lopes, is 
entitled Navigatione verso VIndie orientali scritta per Thomh 
Lopez Portoghese, and was first printed in Ramusio (vol. i. p. 133 
seq. of the ed. of 1663). Lopes, who was escrivdo aboard one 
of Gama's ships, shows much literary talent and appears to be 
thoroughly trustworthy. The second narrative, which is brief 
and sometimes demonstrably inaccurate was written by an 
anonymous Flemish pilot, and is usually known as Calcoen 
{i.e. Calicut). Internal evidence tends to prove that its author 
was a man of little education, who had not previously visited 
the tropics. Calcoen was first printed in Antwerp, in 1504, 
without a title. The edition to which I have referred is the 
English version entitled Calcoen, a Dutch narrative 0] the second 
voyage of Vasco da Gama to Calicut, ed. and trans. J. P. Berjeau, 
London, 1874 (unpaged). There are also French and German 
versions — Paris, 1881, and Brunswick, 1887. 

For Gama's viceroy alty and third voyage the chief authority 
is Caspar Correa, who was then in India. There is a volume 
of extracts from the Lendas entitled The Three Voyages of Vasco 
da Gama and his Viceroyalty, ed. and trans. Lord Stanley of 
Alderley, London, Hak. Soc, 1869. Readers should beware of 
regarding Correa as a trustworthy historian of the first two 
voyages, and should use the editorial matter in the above-named 
volume with caution. 

The other documents relating to Gama's life will be found 
scattered up and down various books and periodicals — notably 
Vasco da Gama e a Vidigueira, by A. Teixeira de Aragao, 
3rd ed. (containing material not elsewhere printed), Lisbon, 
1898 ; premio da descoherta, by Luciano Cordeiro, Lisbon, 
1897 ; Os primeiros Gamas, id., Lisbon, 1898 ; De come e quando 
foi feito Conde Vasco da Gama, id., in the Boletim for 1892, 
pp. 257-303, and as separate pamphlet, Lisbon, 1892 ; Vasco da 
Gama em Evora, by A. F. Barata, Lisbon, 1898 ; and Alguns 
documentos. The principal biographies are Vasco da Gama, by 
J. M. Latino Coelho, Lisbon, 1882 — largely out of date — and Le 
Comte-Amiral D. Vasco da Gama, by D. Maria Telles da Gama, 
Paris, 1902 — a fantastic book dedicated to the Emperor Menelik. 


Affonso de Albuquerque 

Of the principal chroniclers, Correa, who was an eyewitness of How citbd 
much that he describes, is to be preferred to Barros, Castanheda 
and Goes. But the chief authority is Albuquerque's own letters 
— Cartas, ed. R. A. de Bulhao Pato, i vol., Lisbon, Ac. Real, 1884. Cartas 
A second volume of elucidatory documents was promised but 
not published. The Commentaries of the Great Afonso Dal- Commentaries 
boquerque, trans, and ed. W. de Gray Birch, 4 vols., London, 
Hak. Soc, 1875-84, is an excellent translation of an indispen- 
sable book. The original was written by Braz (afterwards 
D. Affonso) de Albuquerque, half-caste natural son to the great 
governor. It is laudatory in tone, but fairly trustworthy (see 
p. 100) ; and it has great literary merit. Portuguese text : 
Commentaries do grande A, Dalhoquerque, 4 vols., Lisbon, 1774 
(ist ed. 1557). The best English account of Albuquerque will be 
found in Whiteway. There is also a biography by Prof. H. 
Morse Stephens, in the *' Rulers of India " series — Albuquerque, 
London, 1892. 

King Manoel 

DamiSo de Goes, Chronica do felicissimo Rei D. Emmanuel, Goes 
Lisbon, 1566-1567. This is the most important of Goes* books 
on Portuguese history. For some account of its author, see 
above. General Bibliography. 

Jeronymo Osorio da Fonseca, Bishop of Silves, De rebus Osorio 
Emanuelis, Lisbon, 1571. Confessedly based on Goes, this 
chronicle has some independent merits, and is singularly out- 
spoken. There is an English translation by James Gibbs, y 
The History of the Portuguese during the Reign of Emmanuel, '^ 
2 vols., London, 1752. See also Ordenapes do S. R. D. Manoel, 
Coimbra, 1757, and El Rei D. Manoel, by M. B. Branco, Lisbon, 
1888. The last-named is a useful biography. 

D. JoAo DE Castro 

Jacinto Freire de Andrade, Vida de Dom Jo do de Castro, Andrade 
ed. D. Fr. Francisco de Sao Luiz, Assistant Bishop of Coimbra, 
Lisbon, 1835. This is the best of many editions, including the 
later ones (Paris, 1861 and 1869) attributed to the same editor. 
It contains valuable critical matter, and transcripts of many 
letters to Castro from the King and Queen of Portugal, besides 
other original documents. The Vida, first published in 1651, 
has been called " the type of perfect biography." A more 
accurate characterization is that of Mr R. S. Whiteway — 


fit only " to relate the history of that Portuguese ship's captain 
who, hearing one of his sailors ask the cook for an onion, roared 
at him * Onion ! What the devil do you mean ? Our only 
luxuries here are powder and shot/ " ^ The book is as untrust- 
worthy as it is pompous. There is an English translation by 
Sir P. Wyche, London, 1664. 

Castro's letters have never been collected, but specimens will 
be found in the two volumes of Instiiuto, Coimbra, 1854 \ 
in vol. xvi. of the Investigador Portuguez, Lisbon, 181 1 ; and in 
vol. i. of the Revista Universal, 2nd series, Lisbon, 1849. 

Three roteiros written by Castro are extant (see chap, xviii.), 
and were first published in the nineteenth century under the 
following titles : — 

(i) Roteiro de Lishoa cl Goa, i^j8, ed. J. de Andrade Corvo, 
Lisbon, 1882, 

(ii) Roteiro de Goa a Dio [iSjS-jg], anonymously edited but 
produced by Diogo Kopke, with facsimiles of the MS. and a 
separate volume of the original illustrations. Oporto, 1843. 

(iii) Roteiro de Dom Joam de Castro de viagem que fizeram os 
Portuguezes ao Mar Roxo no anno de 1^41, etc., ed. A. Nunes de 
Carvalho, Paris, 1833. A Latin version of the disquisition on 
the Red Sea [Itinerarium Maris Ruhri) is included, and there is a 
separate volume of the original illustrations. A very incomplete 
English translation, entitled the Rutter oj Don John of Castro, 
was first printed in 1625, in Purchas his Pilgrimes. Some of 
Castro's observations on compass-variation and kindred topics 
are reprinted separately in G. Hellmann's Neudrucke von Schrijten 
und Karten iiher Meteorologie und Erdmagnetismus (No. 10, 
Rara Magnetica), Berlin, 1898. 

George Buchanan 

George Buchanan : Glasgow Quater centenary Studies, Glasgow, 
1906, and George Buchanan : a Memorial, ed. D. A. Millar, St 
Andrews and London, 1906, are collections of essays and trans- 
lations of Buchanan's writings, published to celebrate the fourth 
centenary of his birth. The standard biography is George 
Buchanan : Humanist and Reformer, by Professor P. Hume 
Brown, Edinburgh, 1890. The records of Buchanan's trial 
were discovered in 1890 by Senhor G. J. C. Henriques, and 
published with an English translation and notes under the title 
George Buchanan in the Lisbon Inquisition, Lisbon, 1906. Senhor 
Henriques also contributed a chapter on ^' Buchanan in Portugal " 
to George Buchanan : a Memorial. His researches have entirely 
superseded the traditional account of the trial, which was still 
^ Whiteway, p. 301. 


current up to 1906, although the true facts had been com- How citbd 
municated by Senhor Henriques to Professor Hume Brown, 
and published by him in the Scottish Review for April 1893. 

Francis Xavier 

Xavier*s own correspondence, supplemented by a few other 
sixteenth-century documents, affords the only sound foundation 
upon which to reconstruct his biography. A critical text, pre- 
ceded by a life of Xavier in Spanish, and containing a biblio- 
graphy and notes, will be found in Monumenta Xaveriana ex 
Autogr aphis vel ex Antiquiorihus Exemplis Collecta, vol. i., Madrid, 
1899-1900, included in Monumenta historica Societatis Jesu. The 
letters are translated in The Life and Letters of Si Francis Xavier, 
by H. Coleridge, S.J., 2 vols., London, 1872. The translator Coleridge 
claims to have consulted certain manuscript sources, but the 
historical and biographical parts of his Life appear to be based 
on late and doubtful evidence. There are numerous older 
biographies by members of the Society ; all are frankly uncritical, 
but together they probably embody a mass of oral and written 
information, partly genuine though impossible to verify. To 
this information I have referred under the general name of 
" tradition." The best of the early Jesuit biographies are those 
of Torsellino (Tursellinus) and Lucena ; viz. De vita Francisci 
Xaverii . . . lihri sex, by Orazio Torsellino, Antwerp, 1596 ; Torsellino 
English translation, The Admirable Life of St Francis Xavier, 
translated by T. F., Paris, 1632 ; and Historia da Vida do Padre 
Francisco de Xavier, etc., by Joao Lucena, Lisbon, 1600. The Lucena 
later works of Bartoli, Maffei, Poussines, Menchacha, Leon 
Pages and other Jesuits borrow freely from Torsellino and 
Lucena. The essay by Sir James Stephens is mentioned on 
p. 238 (note). The Missionary Life of St Francis Xavier, by the 
Rev. H. Venn, Prebendary of St Paul's Cathedral, London, 1862, 
contains an interesting map, but is mainly an AngUcan polemic. 
The Resumo historico da maravilhosa vida . . . de S. Francisco 
Xavier, by F N. Xavier, S.J., Nova Goa, 1861, and St Franpis 
de Xavier, sa vie et ses lettres, by J. M. Cros, S.J., 2 vols., Toulouse, 
1900, contain the results of original research, though they carry 
on the Jesuit tradition. On Fernao Mendes Pinto as an 
authority for the life of Xavier, see ch. xxix. ; see also A History 
of Christianity in Japan, by Otis Cary, 2 vols., London, 1910. 

Luiz DE CamOes 

The best biography is Dr Theophilo Braga's Camdes, epoca e Braga 
vida, Oporto, 1907. Dr Braga is the first among modern Portu- 


guese critics, and his book is as brilliant as it is learned. But 
allowance should be made for the anti-clerical bias of the author, 
whose dogmatic Positivism occasionally colours his interpreta- 
tion of historical fact. Camoes e o sentimento nacional, also by 
Dr Braga, Oporto, 1891, and Camoes, os Lusiadas, e a RenascenfU 
em Portugal, by J. P. OHveira Martins, Lisbon, 1891, are useful 
and suggestive. Dr Wilhelm Storck's Luis de Camoes' Leben, 
Paderborn, 1890, is usually considered the best biography not of 
Portuguese authorship. Camoens, His Life and his Lusiads : 
A Commentary, by Sir R. F. Burton, 2 vols., London, 1881, 
includes an exhaustive bibliography of the books previously 
written on the same subject, besides invaluable notes on Oriental 
customs and history. But as a biography it has been superseded. 
A complete edition of the works of Camoes was compiled by the 
Visconde de Juromenha in 9 vols., Lisbon, 1860-1869. Some 
pieces of doubtful authorship are included. Among many 
English translations of The Lusiads, the best is that of J. J. 
Aubertin, 2nd. ed. (with Portuguese text), 2 vols., London, 1884. 
Text and translation of 70 of Camoes' sonnets, by the same 
author, London, 1881. Burton is said to have translated all 
the works of Camoes : but only his versions of The Lusiads 
(2 vols., London, 1880) and Lyrics (2 vols., London, 1884) have 
been published. 

Bibliographical Notes 

Brief bibliographical notes on special subjects are appended to 
pp. 10 (alleged Portuguese discovery of America), 17 (determina- 
tion of longitude), 26 (Kongo), 27 (Cao and Dias), 46 (Muhani- 
madanism in E. Africa), 46 and 87 (Ophir), 65 (the Mithkal), 
72 (Almeida), 74 (Vijayanagar), 120 (the Corte-Reaes), 142 
(ChristovSo da Gama in Abyssinia), 161 (the Jews in Portugal), 
181 (the Inquisition), 203 (early voyages to Australia), 210 
(Pinto) and 245 (" Grao Vasco "). 



It is impossible to secure more than approximate accuracy 
in converting Indo-Portuguese coinage of the sixteenth century 
into its modern equivalent in sterling. The unit of value, then as 
now, was the real (plur. reis), worth about one farthing in 1500 
and less than one-fifth of a farthing at the present day. Sir H. 
Yule (in Hobson-Jobson, a Glossary of Anglo-Indian Words and 
Phrases, s.v. Pardao) worked out the value of the real at different 
periods, making it approximately •268d. in 1513 and •i6d. in 1600. 
Somewhat similar results were obtained by Mr G. M'C. Theal, who 
based his estimates on the actual weight of fine gold in certain 
sixteenth-century coins (History and Ethnography oj Africa 
South of the Zambesi, vol. i., London, 1907, pp. 259-260, note). 

The value of the real fluctuated enormously in the sixteenth 
century (see Whiteway, pp. 67-72), largely owing to the frequent 
debasement of the coinage ; but for purposes of conversion it is 
necessary to adopt some fixed standard, and I have taken the 
real at •268d. up to 1560 and thenceforward at •i6d. ; the cruzado 
at 390-420 reis ; the gold pardao at 360 reis ; the xerafim and 
pardao de tanga at 300 reis. The equivalence thus obtained is, 
of course, never more than approximately correct, owing partly 
to the fluctuation of the real, partly to changes in the purchasing 
power of money. It may be stated as a general rule, admitting of 
many exceptions, that any sum of money nominally the same 
in the sixteenth century and the twentieth would have a higher 
power of purchasing necessaries in the earlier period, and a higher 
power of purchasing luxuries in the later. A fowl could be bought 
for 2d. in 1500 ; but an ounce of spice now worth 4d. would then 
have cost something much nearer to its own weight in silver. 
This difference in purchasing power should be borne in mind in 
estimating, e.g., the pensions received by Gama, Magellan, or 
Camoes. An income which would mean starvation to-day may 
have been a " living wage " to its recipients. 

The chief sixteenth-century book on the subject is that of 
Antonio Nunes, mentioned above (Appendix A, s.v, Subsidios). 
Modern authorities, in addition to those already cited, are J. M. 



do Carmo Nazareth, Numismatica da India Portugueza, Lisbon, 
1890 ; and J. Gerson da Cunha, Contributions to the Study of 
Indo-Portuguese Numismatics, Bombay, 1880. The comparative 
values given in the last-named are illusory, so far as the sixteenth 
century is concerned, as the basis of the author's calculations 
is the real taken at its modern par value. 


Abd ur-Razzak, 54, 94, 96. 

Abravanel, Isaac, 158. 

Abu Bakr, 269. 

Abyssinia, 36, 141-142, 211. See 

also " Prester John." 
Achinese, 292 (note). 
Adam's Bridge, 195, 199. 
Adamastor, 263. 
Aden, strategic importance of, 80- 

8 1 ; attacked by Albuquerque, 91- 

93, 186-187 ; Castro on, 138 ; 

fiasco of 1547, 151-153. 
Affonso I., King of Portugal. See 

Afionso Henriques. 
Affonso II., King of Portugal, 156. 
Affonso III., „ „ 281. 

Affonso IV., „ „ 251. 

Affonso v., „ „ 5, 24, 

78-79, 158. 

Affonso, Prince, son of John II., 

Affonso, Martim, 43. 

Affonso Henriques, 248, 251, 277, 
281, 282. 

Africa, exploration of, 10, 13-14, 
24-28, 40-51. 

Agulhas current, 43, 45. 

Ahmad ibn Muhammad, 248 (note). 

Ailly, Pierre d', 29, 31 (note). 

Albuquerque, Affonso de : name 
and ancestry, 78 ; career before 
1509, 78-79 ; first attack on 
Ormuz and dispute with Almeida, 
76-77 ; becomes Governor of 
India, tt^ 79 ; his governorship, 
79-114; defeat at Calicut, 79- 
80; capture of Goa, 81-82; 
expulsion and blockade by Adil 
Shah, 80-83 ; commandeers a 
fleet, 84 ; retakes Goa, 84- 
85 ; treatment of Diogo Mendes 
de Vasconcellos, 85 ; conquers 
Malacca, 86-88 ; returns to India, 
88 ; relieves garrison of Goa, 88- 
90 ; expedition to Red Sea, 91- 
93 ; attacks Aden, ih. \ builds 
fort in Calicut, 93 (note) ; 
occupies Ormuz, 93-96 ; illness 
and supersession ; 96-97 ; return 
to Goa and death, 96-98 ; last 

letter to King Manoel, 97 ; per- 
sonal appearance, 99 ; character, 
99-100, 1 1 3-1 14, 183, compared 
with Gama, 129 ; business habits, 
100 ; mastery of detail, 101-102 ; 
cruelty, 85, 89-90, 93 ; statesman- 
ship, 80-81, 101-114 ; colonial and 
marriage policy, 102-106 ; com- 
mercial policy, 106-107 \ foreign 
policy 107-110 ; finance, iio-iii ; 
administrative system, 1 1 1 - 1 1 2 ; 
summary of his work, 11 3- 114; 
bibliography, 307. 

Albuquerque, Braz de (afterwards 
D. Affonso de), son of A. de 
Albuquerque, 97 (note), 99-100, 

Albuquerque, D. Gon^alo de, father 
of A. de Albuquerque, 79. 

Albuquerque, D. Joao de. Bishop 
of Goa, 183, 151, 153. 

Albuquerque, Jorge de, 227. 

Albuquerque, Pedro de, 95. 

Albuquerque, town, Spain, 78. 

Alcala de Henares, town, Spain, 
166, 269. 

Alcmena, 253. 

Alcochete, town, Portugal, 49. 

Alemquer, Pedro de, 35, 41. 

Alexander VI., Pope, 5, 31-32, 62, 
118, 160. 

Alexandria, loi, 139, 140. 

Algarve, 3. 

Algoa Bay, Africa, 27. 

Alhandra, town, Portugal, 78. 

Ali bin Sulaiman, Shaikh of Aden, 

Aljubarrota, 3, 243. 

All Saints, college, Coimbra, 252. 

Almada, town, Portugal, 258. 

Almeida, D. Francisco de, first Vice- 
roy of India, 72, 119 ; his policy 
73-74, 102 ; defeats Egyptian 
navy, 74-76 ; quarrels with 
Albuquerque, 76-77 ; killed by 
Hottentots, "jj. 

Almeida, D. Francisco de, friend 
of Camoes, 277. 

Almeida, D. Louren90 de, 74, 

Almeirim, town, Portugal, 258. 



Altan Khan, 213-214. 
Alva, Duke of, 289. 
Alvares, Jorge, 234. 
Amboyna, island, Malay Archi- 
pelago, 205, 206, 266. 
Amoy River, China, 218 (note). 
Amphitryon, 253. 

Andrade, Fernao Pires de, 227-228. 
Andrade, Jacinto Freire de, 307- 

308, 236. 
Andrade, Simao Pires de, 228-229. 
Anger, Anjiro. See Yajiro. 
Anjadiva, island, India, 84. 
Anthonino, Archbishop of Florence, 

Antiochus, King of Syria, 261. 
Antwerp, 60, 287-289. 
Arabists, in medicine, 269, 270. 
Arabs, 7, 45-46. 
Aragao, D. Francisca de, 258. 
Aragon, 117-118, 121. 
Araujo, Ruy de, 86, 87, 88. 
Arfet, Anna d', 9. 
Aristotle, 7, 19, 157, 225, 269. 
" Armada of Jesus," 208. 
Armada of the North, 264. 
Armada of the South, 265-266. 
Art, Portuguese, in sixteenth 

century, 241-249. 
Arthur, King, 284. 
Arthur, Prince of Wales, 118, 204. 
Artillery, 48, 126, 133 ; types of, 

75 ; in Tibet, 214 ; in Japan, 223, 

in Morocco, 282. 
Arzila (Asila), seaport, Morocco, 

Ascension, island, Atlantic, 64. 
Ashkenazim, 156. 
Athayde, Alexandre de, 95, 232- 

Athayde, D. Alvaro de, sixth son 

of Vasco da Gama, 69. 
Athayde, D. Alvaro Gon9alves de, 

grandfather of A. de Albuquerque, 

Athayde, Catherina de, wife of 

Vasco da Gama, 67. 
Athayde, Catherina de (Nathercia) 

257, 260, 265, 268, 269. 
Atlantic Ocean, in mediaeval legend, 

7-9; exploration of, 7, 9-10, 13- 

14, 24-28. 
Atlantis, 7. 

Auditors of the Rota, 239. 
Aurea Chersonesus, 87. 
Australia, 202-203. 
Auto, meaning of, 248-249. 
Auto-da-F<f, described, 176-180. 
Auto d»l Rei Seleuco, 260-261. 
Auto dos Enfatrioes, 253. 

Avalon, 7-8, 284. 

Avicenna, 269. 

Aviz, town, Portugal, 4. 

Aviz, dynasty, xviii., 3, 279, 280 

Aviz, Order of, 4-6. 
Azambuja, Diogo d', 24. 
Azambuja, Jeronymo d', 172. 
Azamor, town, Morocco, 261. 
Azerbaijan, 109. 
Azevedo, Jeronymo, 292. 
Azores, 58. 
Azurara, Gomes Eannes de, 305. 

Bab el-Mandeb, Strait of, 91, 

Bacon, Francis, 245, 270, 295. 
Badega, 198 (note). 
Bahadur Shah, 133, 154 (note), 

Bahia da Roca. See Algoa Bay. 
Bahia dos Vaqueiros. See Mossel 

Bahmani Sultanate, 108. 
Bale, Bishop, 249. 
Balthasar the German, 15. 
Banda, island, Malay Archipelago, 

Bantu, 43-45, 182-183. 
Barbary Corsairs, 60. 
Barbora, 265. 
Barbosa, Duarte, 302. 
Barcelona, 166, 170. 
Barreto, Francisco, 264, 265-6, 

267, 268 (note). 
Barreto Rolim, Pedro, 267, 268 

(note), 271. 
Barros, Joao de, 300. 
Bartholomew the Florentine, 107. 
Basques, 121. 
Basra (Bussorah), 74. 
Bassein, seaport, India, 136. 
Batalha Abbey, 243. 
Bazaruta Islands, E. Africa, 46. 
Bedawin, 139. 
Behaim, Martin, 30. 
Belem, port and suburb of Lisbon, 

37, 59, 124, 121, 243. 
Beliagoa, Belchior, 173, 252. 
Benares, 292. 
Benasterim, 89. 

Berbers, 130. ■ 

Bermudes, Joao, 141. 
Bethencourt, Jean de, 9. 
Bijapur, 81, 103, 108. 
Bimini, legendary island, 8, 
Bintang, island, Malay Archipelago, 

230, 292 (note). 
Blaise, St., 76, 



Boa Gente, Terra da. See Limpopo. 

Bobadilla, Nicolas, 167. 

Boccaccio, 275. 

Bons Signaes, Rio dos. See Kiliman 

Bonzes, 219, 220, 224-225. 

Bordeaux, 168-169. 

Borges, Gon9alo, 262. 

Borneo, 204. 

Botelho, Simao, 183, 185, 230, 299, 

Boutaca, 243. 

Braga, Dr Theophilo, 309-310. 

Bragan9a, D. Constantino de, 267, 

Bragan9a, Duke of, 70. 

Brahmans, 53, 55. 

Brazil, legendary island, 8. 

Brazil, supposed discovery in 1447- 
1448, 10 (note) ; discovery by 
Cabral, 63 ; Jesuits in, 161. 

Brendan, St., legendary island of, 8. 

Bristol, 60. 

Broach, town, India, 153. 

Brown, John, 66 (note). 

Browne, Sir Thomas, 180 (note). 

Brunei, Borneo, 204. 

Buchanan, George, early life, 163 ; 
in Paris, 163-165 ; in Scotland, 
168 ; at Bordeaux, 168-169 ; at 
Coimbra, 1 69-1 71 ; trial and 
imprisonment 171 -173 ; subse- 
quent career, 173-175 ; writings, 
168, 169, 170, 174 ; bibliography, 

Buchanan, Thomas, 174. 

Buddhists, in Japan, 219-220, 223- 
225 ; in China, 228 ; Portuguese 
opinion of, 236 ; dalada incident, 

Bungo, fief, Japan, 223-226. 

Burma, 215. 

Bushmen, 45. 

Cabo da Boa Esperan^a. See Cape 
of Good Hope. 

Cabo Tormentoso. See Cape of Good 

Cabral, Fernao Alvares, 262. 

Cabral, Pedro Alvares, 62-64. 

Ca' da Mosto or Cadamosto, Alvise 
da, 15, 305. 

Cadiz, 60, 282. 

Caiado, Antonio, 173. 

Cairo, 109, 139, 140. 

Calcoen, 306, 64 (note), 65, 66. 

Calicut, trade of, 53, 57-58 ; govern- 
ment, 53-54 ; Gama at (1498), 
52-58 ; Cabral at, 6^ ; attacked 

by Gama (1502), 65-66; Portu- 
guese defeated at, 79-80, 100 ; 
Portuguese fort built, 93 (note). 

Calvin, 165. 

Calvinism, 289. 

Calvo, Vasco, 229-230. 

Camara, Luiz Gon9alves da, 279- 

Camara, Ruy Dias da, 275. 

Cambodia, 267. 

Caminha, Pedro de Andrade de, 258. 

Camoes, Antao Vaz de, grandfather 
of L. de Camoes, 250. 

Camoes, D. Bento de, uncle of L. de 
Camoes, 250, 252. 

Camoes, Luiz Vaz de : life, 250- 
278 ; family and early education, 
250-252 ; at Coimbra University, 
252-255 ; relations with " Chiado," 

256 ; meeting with Nathercia, 

257 ; at Court 257-261 ; in 
Morocco, 261-262 ; return to 
Lisbon (i549-i553)> 262 ; voyage 
to India, 262-263 ; service in 
Arabian Sea, Red Sea, Persian 
Gulf, 263-264; in Goa (1555- 
1556), 264-265 ; in Malacca 
and Malay Archipelago, 265- 
266 ; at Macao, 266-267 ; ship- 
wreck and return to Malacca 
(1560), 267; life in Goa (1561- 
1567), 267-271 ; in Mozambique, 
271-272 ; return to Lisbon (1570), 
272; last years in Lisbon (1570- 
1580), 272-278 ; pension, 275 ; 
death, 277 ; minor works, 253, 260- 
261, 264-265, 267, 268, 270, 272 
(and note) ; bibliography, 309- 
310. See also Lusiads. 

Camoes, Simao Vaz de, father of L. 

de Camoes, 250-251. 
Camoes, Vasco Pires de, 250. 
Cana, 51. 
Cananor, 6-^, 66. 
Canary Islands, 8, 9. 
Canerio, Nicholas de, 53. 
Canquexumaa. See Kagoshima. 
Canterbury Tales, quoted, 257. 
Canton, 221-230, 218, 233. 
Cao, Diogo, 25-27. 
Cape of Good Hope, 27-28, 41-42, 

263, 289. 
Cape Verde Islands, 15, 37-39, 259. 
Carocha, 177. 
Carthage, 60. 
Casa Pia, 216. 
Casal, Antonio do, 149, 150. 
Cascaes, seaport, Portugal, 272. 
Cassilis, Earl of, 168. 
Castanheda, Femao Lopes de, 301. 


Caste, 237. 

Castello Branco, D. Martinho de, 104 

Castiglione, Baldassare, 258, 

Castile, 2-3, 243, 158. 

Castilho, Joao de, xiii., 243, 

Castro, D. Alvaro de, father of D. 
J. de Castro, 130. 

Castro, D. Alvaro de, elder son 
of D. J. de Castro, 131, 132 ; 
knighted, 140 ; at Diu, 146-147, 
149; in Arabia, 152-153. 

Castro, Christovao de, Franciscan, 

Castro, D. Fernao de, younger son 
of D. J. de Castro, 131, 145-146. 

Castro, D. Guiomar de, grand- 
mother of A. de Albuquerque, 78. 

Castro, Ignez de, 251, 281. 

Castro, D. Joao de : life, 130-155 ; 
early career (to 1538), 130-132 ; 
first experience of India, 132- 
134 ; Red Sea expedition, 
135-142 ; return to Portugal, 142 ; 
Governor of India, 142-155 ; de- 
feats Gujaratis at Diu, 147-149 ; 
"triumph" at Goa, 150-151 ; 
fiasco at Aden, 151-153 ; death, 
153 ; character, 153-155 ; as 
scientist, 130, 135-139, iS4-iS5, 
241, 245; his RoteifoSy 135-139; 
his letters, 154; as soldier, 131, 
150; as administrator, 134, 154, 
291 ; bibliography, 307-308. 

Catalans, 9, 17, 118, 121, 244. 

Catherine of Aragon, 118, 204. 

Catherine, Queen-consort of John 
III., 151, 197, 257, 259, 279. 

Catherine, St., convent and tomb 
of, 139-140. 

" Catholic sovereigns," 115. 

Cato, Disticha Catonis, Cato pro 
Pueris, Gaton, 173, 251 (note). 

Celebes, island, Malay Archipelago, 
200, 201. 

Cellini, Benvenuto, 61, 295. 

Celsus, 269. 

Censorship, 181, 270-271, 274-275. 

Cervantes, 287. 

Ceuta, 10, 261, 262, 271. 

Ceylon, 86, 199, 289, 290, 292, 

Changchau, 218, 231, 233. 
Charles v., Emperor, 118, 120, 132, 

259, 261. 
Chaul, seaport, India, 74, 146, 271. 
" Chiado " (Antonio Ribeiro), 256, 

259, 260. 
China, 86, 87, 94, 211 ; Pinto 

in, 213-215 ; Japanese opinion 

of, 225 ; early intercourse with 

Portugal, 227-231, 226. See also 

Chinchew, 218 (note). 

Chittagong, 86. 

Choshu, fief, Japan, 221. 

Christ, Order of, 4-6, 34, $y. 

Church, Portuguese, relations with 
Monarchy, 3, 1 18-120, 258--26o, 
279-280 ; conflict with Judaism, 
156 ; with Humanism, 162, 175 ; 
in the East, 182-187, 235-237, 
289-290. See also under Censor- 
ship, Crusades, Dominicans, 
Franciscans, Index, Inquisition, 
Jesuits, Military Orders, Missions, 

Chwanchau, 218 (note). 

Cintra, 131, 132, 138, 258, 263. 

Cipangu, 8, 29, 31. 

Clement V., Pope, 4, 5. 

Cobre, Rio do. See Limpopo. 

Cochin, 63, 66, 71, 104, 107, 112- 
113, 126-128. 

Cochin China, 214, 215. 

Coelho, Joao, 146. 

Coelho, Nicolau, 35, 58. 

Cogan, Henry, 210. 

Coimbra, 251, 281. 

Coimbra University, early history, 
170; colleges, 252; curriculum, 
252-253 ; student customs, 253- 
254; Buchanan at, 1 70-171 ; 
disorder at (1550), 172-173. 

Coinage, Indo-Portuguese, values, 
3 1 1-3 12; debasement, 274, 280, 

Collares, town, Portugal, 131. 

Columbus, Bartholomew, 29. 

Columbus, Christopher, 8, 24, 28- 
31, 40. 

Columbus, Diego, 31. 

Columella, 248. 

Comet, observed by D. J. de Castro, 


Commerce, Portuguese, 2, 287-289. 
See also Albuquerque and Spice- 

Comorin, Cape, 195. 

Confucius, 237. 

Congo, river, 25-27. 

Congreve, Richard, 210. 

Conjeveram, town, India, 292. 

Consolat del Mar, 17-19. 

Constantinople, 137. 

Contucci, Andrea, 242. 

Copernicus, 269. 

Coromandel Coast, 126, 135, 293. 

Correa, Antonio, 293. 

Correa, Gaspar, 301, 306, 95-96, 
236 (note), 293. 



Correa, Pedro, 30. 

Correntes, Cape, 43, 44. 

Corsali, Andrea, 227. 

Cortex-Real, Gaspar, 120 (note). 

Corte-Real, Jeronymo, 143. 

Corte-Real, Miguel, 120 (note). 

Cortes, 3, 158. 

Corunna, 60. 

Costa, Joao da, 170-173. 

Coutinho, Bishop Fernando, 159. 

Coutinho, D. Fernando, Marshal of 

Portugal, Tj, 79-80. 
Coutinho, D, Francisco, Count of 

Redondo, 268 (and note). 
Coutinho, D. Lenor de, wife of D. J. 

de Castro, 131. 
Coutinho, Miguel Rodrigues (Fios 

Seccos), 149, 266, 268-269. 
Couto, Diogo de (or do), 300-301, 

Covilha, Pedro de, 36. 
Crato, Order of, 4. 
Crusades and Crusaders, y6^ 11- 

13, 33, loi, 140, 261, 276, 279- 

Cruz ado, 311. 
Cunha, Tristao da, 119. 
Cyprus, 261. 

Dabul, 124. 

Daimio, 218 ; of Satsuma, 219- 
220 ; of Hirado, 221 ; of Yama- 
guchi, 221-223; of Bungo, 223- 

Dalada, the, 289-290. 

Dalai Lama, 214. 

Dante, 249, 250, 265, 275. 

Deccan, 108. 

Dely, Mount, 52. 

Descartes, 245. 

Diarbekir, 109. 

Dias, Diniz, 13. 

Dias, Diogo, 35. 

Dias, Jeronymo, 57. 

Dias, Ruy, 83. 

Diasde Novaes, Bartholomeu, at 
Sao Jorge da Mina, 24 ; voyage 
round the Cape, 27-28, 33 ; associ- 
ation with Gama, 35-38 ; last 
voyage, 62-63. 

Dieppe, 9, 60, 202. 

Diniz, King of Portugal, 4-5, 15, 

Disparates da India, 265. 

Diu, seaport, India : naval action 
off, 74-76 ; Portuguese settle- 
ment and first siege, 133-134; 
second siege, 143-150. 

Dominicans, attack Jews, 160 ; 
connexion with Inquisition, 176, 

177, 180, 274-275 ; as mission- 
aries, 183-185. 

Doria, Andrea, 132. 

Dunbar, 168. 

Durer Albrecht, 119. 

Dutch East India Company, 289. 

Edinburgh, 168. 

Edom or Idumea, 137. 

Edrisi, 7. 

Education, Portuguese, in sixteenth 

century, 162-165, 251-253, 259, 

Egypt, 74-77, loi, 103 (note), 138- 

El-Araish, town, Morocco, 283. 
El-Kasr el-Kebir, town, Morocco, 

276, 283-284, 285. 
El-Kus, river, Morocco; 283. 
Eleanor of Austria, 118, 261. 
Elephanta, 136. 
Elephants, 88, 1 19-120. 
Empoli, Giovanni de, 228. 
Encina, Juan de, 249. 
England, 2-3, 20, 285, 288. 
EpistolcB Obscurorum Virorum, 

quoted, 102. 
Erasmus, 162, 163, 171, 251, 303. 
Eredia, Manoel Godinho de, 302, 

203 (note). 
Erithra, King, 137. 
Escrivdo, 19, 
Estella, Diego de, 184. 
Estremoz, town, Portugal, 33, 159. 
Eugenius IV., Pope, 5. 
Evora, town, Portugal, 69, 116. 

Faber, Peter, 167. 

Factory-system, in colonization, 102, 

Famine, in the East, 135 ; in 
Portugal, 179, 274. 

Faria, Antonio de, 212, 217. 

Faria, D. Pedro de, 213. 

Faria y Sousa, Manoel de, 303. 
j Faro, town, Portugal, 157. 

Ferdinand, Duke of Vizeu, 115. 

Ferdinand, King of Aragon, 62, 

Fernandes, Andre, 182. 

Fernandes, Isabel, 144-145. 

Fernandez, Juan, 209, 221-226. 

Ferreira, Bartholomeu, 275. 
j Fidalgo, 296-297. 
I Fidalgo, Joao, 92. 
i Filodemo, 264. 
I " Fingeo." See Hiji. 
I Finisterre, Cape, 250. 
1 " Fios Seccos." See Coutinho, 
1 Miguel Rodrigues. 


Firishta, 303. 

Fishery Coast, 195-199- 

Flanders, 2, 287-289. 

Florence, 61. 

Fortunate Isles, 8. 

France, affected by Portuguese 

discoveries, 61. 
Francis I., King of France, 120. 
Franciscans, missions of, 183-184, 

188, 193-194- 
Francis, St. 184. 
Franciscanus, 168. 
Freire, Ruy, 143, 144. 
Fucarandono, 225. 
Fukien, province, China, 218 (note), 

230, 231. 
Fulad Khan, 88-89. 

Galen, 269. 

Galileo, 245. 

Gallas, 292. 

Galle, seaport, Ceylon, 87 (note). 

Galvao, Antonio, 204-205, 266, 

Gama, Ayres da, brother of V. da 
Gama, 68. 

Gama, D. Christovao da, 4th son 
of V. da Gama, 69, 142. 

Gama, Duarte da, 223. 

Gama, Estevao da, cousin of V. 
da Gama, 64 (note). 

Gama, Estevao da, father of V. 
da Gama, 49. 

Gama, D. Estevao da, 2nd son of V. 
da Gama, 69, 123, 134, 135, 140- 

Gama, D. Francisco da, eldest son 
of V. da Gama, 69. 

Gama, D. Guiomar da, grandmother 
of D. J. de Castro, 250. 

Gama, Paulo da, eldest brother of 
V. da Gama, 34, 35, 41, 47, 49, 

Gama, D. Paulo da, 3rd son of V. 
da Gama, 69, 123. 

Gama, Joao da, uncle of V. da Gama, 

Gama, Tareyja da, sister of V. da 
Gama, 68. 

Gama, Vasco da (after 1499 D. 
Vasco, after 15 19 Count of Vidi- 
gueira) : early life 33-34 ; pre- 
parations for voyage to India, 
34-36, 18, 243 ; the outward 
voyage, 37-52 ; at Calicut, 52- 
58 ; return voyage, 58-59 ; re- 
sults, 60-61 ; second voyage to 
India, 64-66 ; retirement and 
rewards, 67-70 ; Viceroy of India, 

123-129 ; death 128 ; character, 
v., 34, 65-66, 68, 123-124, 125, 
128-129 ; bibliography, 305-306. 

Gamba, Bantu chief, 182. 

Genoa, 20, 33, 61. 

Glastonbury Tor, 9. 

Goa, 68 ; described, 80-8 1 ; first 
capture by Albuquerque, 81-82 ; 
recapture by Adil Shah, 82-83 ; 
recapture by Albuquerque, 84- 
85 ; besieged by Fulad Khan, 
88 ; relieved by Albuquerque, 89- 
90 ; value to Portugal, 80, 103- 
104, 112; village communities 
in. III; bishopric, 124, 183; 
Gama in, 124-126 ; Castro's 
triumph in, 150-15 1 ; social life, 
188-193 ' nionastic orders, 183, 
185, 188, 193-194 ; hospitals, 
125 (note), 185 (and note) ; 
prisons, 267 (and note), biblio- 
graphy, 299, 304. See also Albu- 

Gobi Desert, 213. 

Goes, Damiao de, 303, 307, 275. 

Gold, Island of. See Australia. 

Goldsmith's work, Portuguese, in 
sixteenth century, 244. 

Goliards, 256. 

Gomes, Fernao, 24. 

Gouvea, Andre de, 1 68-171. 

Gouvea, Diogo de, 162, 168, 171. 

Great Fish River, S, Africa, 27, 43. 

" Green Sea of Darkness," 7. 

Greenland, 120 (note). 

Guanahani, island, W, Indies, 40. 

Guanchis, 9, 20. 

Guicciardini, Lodovico, 288. 

Guinea, 9, 24, 288. 

Guipuzcoa, province, Spain, 166. 

Gujarat, 75, 103 ; trade of, 107, 
108, 143 ; wars with Portuguese, 
133, 143-150. 

Guyenne, College de, 168-170. 

" Heart of Truth," 219. 

" Hellenists," in medicine, 269, 270. 

Henry, Cardinal Prince, afterwards 

King of Portugal, 120 ; Inquisitor 

171, 178, 180 ; Regent, 279, 280 

(note) ; King, 276-277. 
Henry of Burgundy, Count, i. 
Henry the Navigator, Prince ; life 

and work 5, 7-14, 62 ; death, 

24 ; bibliography, 305. 
Henry VIII., King of England, 120. 
Heriot, Agnes, 163. 
Heywood, John, 249 (note). 
Hierro or Ferro, island, Canaries, 17. 



Hiji, seaport, Japan, 223-226. 

Hindus : mistaken for Christians, 
47, 49 (note), 50, 53, 58, 62; 
error detected, 63 ; opinion of 
Portuguese, 54, 103 ; relations 
with Muhammadans, 73, 107 ; 
with Almeida, 73-74 ; with Albu- 
querque, 98, 107, 112-113; with 
later Portuguese rulers, 183, 193- 
194, 236-237, 292-294. 

Hippocrates, 269. 

Hirado, seaport, Japan, 220-221, 
222, 223. 

Holland, 61, 285, 287-289, 292, 294. 

Homem, Joao, 72. 

Honawar, state, India, 7^^ 82, 84. 

Hong-Kong, 104. 

Hor, Mount, 137. ' 

Hospitallers, Order of, 4. 

Hottentots, 40-42, 77. 

Hudibras, quoted, 133. 

Humanism, 162, 168-169, I75> 253, 

Hunyadi Janos, 8 1 . 

Ibn Batuta, 7. 

Ibrahim, Emir of Kilwa, 64. 

Ibrahim Beg, 94, 112. 

Ichthyophagi, 139. 

Idumea or Edom, 137. 

Ignatius de Loyola, 166-167, 225, 
240, 257. 

Index Expurgatorius, 181. See also 

India: sea-route to, 11, 33, 60- 
62, see also Gama ; Admiralty of, 
68 ; Portuguese rule in, 72-74, 
102-114, 183-187, 197-198, 236, 

Indio, Fray Jose, 277. 

Infante, Rio de (or do). See Great 
Fish River. 

" Infant's Town," Portugal, 10. 

Inhambane, town, E. Africa, 46. 

Inquisition, 159, 161, 171-173, 175- 
181 (note), 185, 260, 270, 275, 

Isabella, Princess of Castile, after- 
wards Queen-consort of Portugal, 

Isabella, Queen of Castile, 62, 115- 
117, 259. 

Ismail Adil Shah of Bijapur, 84, 
88, 108. 

Ismail Shah of Persia, 94, loi, 

Isuf, Shaikh of Sofala, 64. 

Italy, affected by Portuguese dis- 
coveries, 61. 

Jafnapatam, town, Ceylon, 199. 

Jalal ud-Din, 235. 

James II. King of England, 174. 

James V., King of Scotland, 168. 

Janeo, 55. 

Japan, discovery of, 215; political 
condition in 1550, 218-219; first 
mission to, 219-226. 

Jasso, Juan de, 165. 

Java, Javanese, 86-88, 108, 202, 
276, 292 (note). 

Jenghiz Khan, 213. 

Jeronymos, Convento dos, 242- 
244, 249, 284 (note). 

Jerun, island, Persian Gulf, 93. 

Jerusalem, 13, loi, 279. 

Jesuits : formation of Society, 166- 
167 ; missions, 183, 185, see also 
Xavier ; power in Portugal, 175, 
257-260; in Brazil, 161, 295; 
doctrine of Probabilism, 178 

Jews, Portuguese, 156-161, 249 
(note). See also New Christians. 

Jidda, seaport, Arabia, 93, loi. 

Joao, Master, 144. 

John II,, King of Portugal : African 
policy, 24, 281 ; relations with 
Columbus, 30-31 ; crushes feudal 
nobility, 115, 120; treatment of 
Jews, 158-159. 

John III. King of Portugal : re- 
lations with stepmother, 118, 
261 ; character, 120, 259-260 ; 
African policy, 261 ; educational 
reforms, 162, 169-170, 251, 252, 

John, Prince, son of John III., 279. 
John, Prince of Castile, 117. 
" John Company," 112. 
Jorge, D., natural son of John II., 

Juana " the Mad," Princess of 

Castile and Queen of Spain, 118. 
Juari, river, Goa, 81. 
Juderias, 156. 
Julius II., Pope 32. 
Juzar Khan, 149, 151. 

Kagoshima, seaport, Japan, 219- 

Kamaran Island, Red Sea, 93. 
Kandy, Ceylon, 290, 292. 
Kathiawar Peninsula, Gujarat, 75, 

Keda, state, Malay Peninsula, 211. 
Kiliman (Quilimane) River, S.E. 

Africa, 46-47. 
Khair ed-Din Barbarossa, 1 31-132. 


Khoi, town, Persia, 109. 

Khulam (Quilon), seaport, S. Indiaj 

Killearn, town, Scotland, 163. 
Kilwa, city and state, E. Africa, 

46, 48, 64, 244. 
Kioto, 218, 222. 
Kistna, river, India, 73. 
Kiushiu, island, Japan, 219, 223. 
Kongo, kingdom of, 26. 
Koran, 235. 

Kosseir, seaport, Egypt, 139. 
Kublai Khan, 213. 
Kuku-Nor, Lake, 214. 
Kurdistan, 109. 
Kwaja Husain, 212. 

" La Mine," 9. 

La Salle, Gadifer de, 9. 

Laccadive Islands, 52. 

Lacerda, Manoel de, 100. 

Lagos, town, Portugal, 21-22, 282. 

Lan9arote, 13-14. 

Langlois, 173. 

Las Casas, Bartolome de, 20, 114. 

Laynez, Diego, 167. 

" Lechuna," See Lhasa. 

Leiria, town, Portugal, 3, 157. 

Lemos, Duarte de, 79, 80. 

Lemos, Fernao Gomes de, 109-110. 

Leo X., Pope, 61, 119, 244. 

Leon, kingdom of, i, 2. 

Leon, Luis de, 236. 

Lhasa, 214, 

Liampo. See Ningpo. 

Libelle of English Poly eye, quoted, 2. 

Lichnowsky, Prince, 242. 

Lima, D. Manoel de, 149. 

Limpop6, river, Africa, 43-44. 

Linschoten, Jan Huyghen van, 302. 

Lippomano, Aloysio, 259. 

Lisbon, captured from Moors, 3 ; 
as commercial centre, 28, 60, 
287 ; Jews in, 157-160. 

Literature, Portuguese, in six- 
teenth century, 247-249. See also 

Lobato, Alvaro, 173. 

Lopes, Thome, 306, 64 (note). 

Luiz, Prince, son of King Manoel, 21, 
130, 131-132, 135, 258. 

Lull, Ramon de, 235. 

Lusiads, The, 128, 247, 249, 261, 
263, 265, 266, 267, 268, 271, 
272 ; publication, 274-275, 277 ; 
plot, etc., 278. 

Luther, 162, 168, 171, 270. 

Macao, seaport, China, 231, 266. 
Machiavelli, 120, 162. 

Machin or Macham, Robert, 9. 

Mactan, island, Philippines, 203. 

Madagascar, 119. 

Madeira, 9, 10, 29-30, 250, 282, 288. 

Madeira, Isabel, 144-145. 

Madura, state, India, 198. 

Mafra, town, Portugal, 131. 

Magalhaes, Fernao. See Magellan. 

Magellan (Fernao Magalhaes), 70, 
80, 121, 203. 

Mailapur, seaport, India, 200-201. 

Malabar, 52, 93, 195 (note), 200, 

Malacca, 68 ; Sequeira at, 80 ; 
conquest by Albuquerque, 80-81, 
85-88, 108, no; later sieges, 
207-208, 292 (note) ; captains of, 
69, 291. See also Xavier. 

Malayalam, 194, 195. 

Malay Archipelago, Portuguese in, 
202-207, 266-267. 

Malays in Malacca, 80, 86, 88. 

Malhar Rao, in. 

Malik Aiyaz, 75, 100. 

Malindi, town, E. Africa, 49-51, 
58, 139- 

Malocello, Lancelot, 9. 

Manaar, island, Ceylon, 199, 293. 

Mancias, Francis, 197, 199-200. 

Mandavi, river, Goa, 81, 82-83, 97- 

Manoel L, King of Portugal : life 
and reign, 11 5- 122; persecutes 
Jews, 1 59-161 ; relations with 
Gama, 33-34, 67-70 ; with 
Pacheco, 71 ; with Albuquerque, 
96-98, 101-102, 104, 111-113; 
Oriental policy, 62, 72-73 ; 284 ; 
bibliography, 307. 

Manoel, D. Joao, 149. 

Manoeline architecture, 121, 242- 
244, 247. 

Manresa, town, Spain, 166. 

Manrique, Jorge de, 261. 

Mantimento, 291. 

Maranos, 160. 

Marcos, Lucas, 36. 

Marot, Clement, 171, 275. 

Married men : status in Portuguese 
India, 105-106, 126. 

Martellus Germanus, Henricus, 27, 

Martinho, D., Bishop in Goa, 124. 

Martins, D. Theresa, 78. 

Martins, Fernao, 47. 

Mary, Princess of Castile, Queen- 
consort of Portugal, 118. 

Mary, Princess, daughter of John 
III., 254, 257-258. 

Mary, Queen of Scots, 173. 

Mascarenhas, D. Joao, 143-150,281. 



Massawa, loi, 137-139, 141 -142, 

Masser, Leonardo, 67-68. 
Matheus, no. 
Mathnawi, 235-236. 
Meaco. See Kioto. 
Mecca, 7, 65, 10 1. 
Medici, Guiliano de', 227. 
Mediterranean, commerce in, 60-62. 
Mekong, river, Cambodia, 267. 
Mela, Pomponius, 139. 
Melanchthon, 171. 
Mello, Simao de, 207. 
Melo, Diego Suarez de, 208. 
Melville, Andrew, 174. 
Melville, James, 174. 
Mendon9a, Manoel de, 286. 
Menezes, D. Aleixo de, 280. 
Menezes, D. Duarte de, 127-128, 131. 
Menezes, D. Francisco de, 146, 147. 
Menezes, D. Jorge de, 153, 204, 266. 
Menezes, D. Lenor de, 79. 
Menezes, D. Luiz de, 127. 
Menezes, D. Pedro de, 30. 
Mercy, Brotherhood of, 125. 
Mergulhao, D. Diogo, 186-187, 230. 
Meri, Muhammadan pilgrim-ship, 

Mesquita, Manoel de, 173. 
Mexia, Affonso, 126. 128. 
Michael Angelo, 61. 
Miguel, Prince of Portugal and Spain, 

Mikado, 218, 222. 
MUitary Orders, in Portugal, 3-6, 

Mir Amrjan, 91. 
Mir Hussain, 74-76. 
Missions, 182-185. See also Xavier. 
Mithkaly 64 (and note). 
Mocquet, Jean, 302. 
Molay, Jacques de, 5. 
Moluccas, 108, 203-207. 
Mombasa, 48-49. 
Monarchy, Portuguese : relations 

with Cortes, 3, 281 ; under John 

II., and Manoel 120 ; relations 

with Church, 157, 259, 279-280. 
Mon9aide, 52-53. 
Mondego, river, Portugal, i, 251. 
Mongols, 213-214. 
Monomotapa: (i) Bantu chief, 

182 ; (2) name applied to his 

territories, 233, 290. 
Montaigne, 169. 

Montaigu, college, Paris, 163, 165. 
Montem6r (Montemayor), Jorge de, 

Montem6r-o-Novo, town, Portugal, 


Montserrat, mountain, &pain, 166. 

Moors : (i) Arab and Berber in- 
vaders of Peninsula, i, 3, 116, 
285 ; (2) inhabitants of Morocco ; 
see Morocco ; (3) generic term for 
Muhammadans ; see Muham- 

Moplas, 53, 54. 

Morales, Pedro, 9. 

More, Thomas, 163. 

Morocco, 130-131, 261-262, 281-284. 

Moses, 140. 

Moses, Jewish mathematician, 30. 

Mossel Bay, S. Africa, 27, 42. 

Mota, Antonio da, 215. 

Mozambique, 47-48, 124, 271-273. 

Mozambique current, 45. 

Mughals, 108. 

Muhammad Ankoni, 64. 

Muhammadans : in E. Africa, 45- 
5 1 ; Gama's view of, 66 ; King 
Manoel's, 62 ; Almeida's, 73 ; 
Xavier's, 232-237 ; attitude to- 
wards Portuguese 52-53, 57, 103 ; 
relations with Albuquerque, 98, 
99, 107, III, 113. 

Mukdishu, seaport, E. Africa, 58. 

Mulai Abd el-Malik, 282, 283, 

Mulai Ahmad, 282, 283, 284 (note). 

Murad II., Sultan of Turks, 81. 

Murillo, 246. 

Nairs, 53, 57, 76, 79. 

Natal, 43. 

" Nathercia." See Athayde, Cath- 

erina de. 
Necoda, 209. 

Nestorians, 183 (note), 138, 200. 
New Christians, 160-161, 179, 282. 
Nikitin, Athanasius, 94. 
Nile, river, 12-14, ioi> 137-138. 
" Nile of the Negroes." See 

" Western Nile." 
Nmachetty, 86, 88. 
Ningpo, 212, 231. 
Noronha, D. Ant3,o de, 271-272. 
Noronha, D. Garcia de, 92, 132- 

134, 290-291. 
Noronha, D. Payo de, 152. 
Nova, Joao de, 64, yj, 99. 
Nunes, Gon9alo, 35. 
Nunes, Joao, 52-53. 
Nunes (Nonius), Pedro, 126, 130, 

Nur ud-Din, Rais, 94-95. 

Odoric of Pordenone, 164. 
Ophiotophagi, 139. 
Ophir, 46 (note), 87 (note). 
Opium, 102. 


Oran, 52. 

Oranges, 132. 

Ordenado, 291. 

Ormiiz, 68 ; strategic and com- 
mercial importance, 80-81 ; Albu- 
querque at (1508-09), 76-77, 79; 
annexation by Albuquerque, 
93-96, 100, 109. 

Orta, Garcia de, 241, 245, 269-271, 

Osaka, town, Japan, 221. 
Osborne, Dorothy, 210. 
Osorio da Fonseca, Jeronymo, 

Bishop of Silves, 114, 186, 275, 

281, 307. 
Otomo, Daimio of Bungo, 223-225. 
Otranto, 144 (note). 
" Oxindono," Daimio of Yamaguchi, 

222 (note), 224. 

Pacheco Pereira, Duarte, 71, 

63 (note) 301. 
Padilha, Jeronymo de, 169-170. 
Padrao {phn . padroes) , 25 (and note), 

Painting, Portuguese, in sixteenth 

century, 245-247. 
Paiva, Cosmo de, 149, 200. 
Paiva, D. Heliodoro de, 253. 
Pamplona, 166. 
Pandarani Kollam, seaport, India, 

Panical, town, S. India, 198. 
Paracelsus, 269. 
Paravas, 195-198. 
Pardao, 311. 
Parnaso, 272. 

Pasai, seaport, Sumatra, 86. 
Paul III., Pope, 167, 183. 
Pedir, seaport, Sumatra, 86. 
Pedro I., King of Portugal, 281. 
Pegu, 108, 86, 94, 289. 
Peking, 213-214, 227, 229. 
Pena Castle, 131. 
Penha Verde, 131. 
Percalfos, 291. 
Pereira, Diogo, 232-233. 
Perestrello, Bartolommeo, 29-30. 
Perestrello, Felippa Moniz, 29-31. 
Perestrello, Isabella Moniz, 30. 
Perestrello, Rafael, 227. 
Persia, 94, loi, 108-110. 
Persian Gulf, 74, 81, 264. 
Pessagna. See Pezagna. 
Peter Martyr, 117. 
" Petit Dieppe," 9. 
" Petit Paris," 9. 
Petrarch, 257. 
Pexoto, Antonio, 215. 

Pezagna or Pessanha, Emmanuele, 

Philip (the Fair) I., King of Spain, 

Philip II., King of Spain, 118, 216, 

244, 254, 277, 278, 282, 284 (note). 
Philip IV., King of France, 4-5. 
Philippine Islands, 203. 
Pina, Ruy de, 303-304. 
Pinheiro, Joao de, 171. 
Pinto, Fernao Mendes : life, 210- 

217 ; with Xavier, 223-226 ; his 

Peregrinafam, 303. 
Piracy, 127, 202, 211-213. 
Pires, Thome, 227-229. 
Pius v.. Pope, 281. 
Plague, in Portugal, 157, 159, I79, 

250, 273-274, 277. 
Plautus, 253. 
Pliny, 137, 139. 
Polo, Marco, 7, 29, 36. 
Porto Santo, island, Madeiras, 29-30. 
Portucalia, Terra Portucalensis, i. 
Portugal, early history, 1-6. 
Portuguese, characteristics of, 2- 

3, 5-6, 22, 247-248, 284, 285. 
Portuguese, empire 285-297. See 

also Albuquerque, Almeida, Brazil, 

China, India, Malay Archipelago. 
Portus Cale, i. 
Pottery, Portuguese, in sixteenth 

century, 245. 
Powder-pots, 145. 
Pr^s, Josquin des, 253. 
" Prester John," 12-13, 33, 47> 62, 

loi, no. See also Abyssinia. 
Printing, 157. 
Probabilism, 178 (note). 
Promontorium Sacrum. See Sagres. 
Ptolemy, 36, 136, 138, 139. 
Pulci, 275. 
Purbach, 136. 
" Puxanguim " 214, 217. 
Pyrard, Franfois, 302. 


" Quanginau," 214, 217. 
" Quinsay," 213. 

Rabelais, 164. 

Ragusa, 33. 

Rais Ahmad, 94-95, 113. 

Ramadan, 147. 

Ramusio, Giovanni Battista, 300. 

Randolph, Sir Thomas, 174 (and 

Ras ul-Khan, 88-89. 
Real (plur. reis), 311. 
Red Eric, 7. 



Red Sea, Egyptian supremacy in, 
74 ; Albuquerque's expedition 
to, 80-81, 9,1-93 ; expedition of 
1541, 135-142 ; Castro's dis- 
quisition on, 137-138 ; Camoes in, 

Relatio super sanctitate, 239. 

Renaissance, 154, 163, 241-242, 
252-253, 295-297. 

Resende, Garcia de, 260, 304. 

Reynoso, Diogo de, 146. 

Rhine, 288. 

Ribeira, Pra9a da, 178. 

Ribeiro, Antonio. See Chiado. 

Ribeiro, Bernardim, 247-248, 249. 

Riu Kiu Islands, Japan, 86. 

Rocio, the, 160. 

Rodrigo, Jewish physician, 30. 

Rodrigues, Francisco, 143. 

Rodrigues, Garcia, 144. 

Rodrigues, Simao, 167, 275. 

Rome, 61. 

Rosario, Nicolau do, 187. 

Rouen, 9. 

Rubrouck, William of, 7, 

Rumi Khan, 145, 147-149. 

Sa Garcia de, 148. 

Sa, Joao de, 53. 

Sa, Jorge de, 173. 

Sa de Miranda, Francisco de, 248. 

Sa e Macedo, Anne de, 250, 275. 

Sagres, promontory, Portugal, 11. 

Saif ud-Din, King of Ormuz, 94. 

St Andrews, 163. 

St Anthony, convent of, Bordeaux, 

St Augustine, college, Coimbra, 252. 
St Helena Bay ; S. Africa, 40-41. 
St Helena Island, 64. 
St John Baptist, college, Coimbra, 

St John's Island. See Shangchwan. 
St Mark's, Venice, 241. 
St Michael, college, Coimbra, 252. 
St Michael's, island, Azores, 8. 
St Paul, Jesuit college, Goa, 193- 

194, 197- 
Ste. Barbe, college, Paris, 162-165. 
Sal, island, Cape Verdes, 38. 
Salamanca, 166, 170, 172, 269. 
Salamina (Mailapur), 200. 
Salmeron, Alfonso, 167. 
Samarra, 177. 
SambenitOy 177. 

Sampayo, Lopo Vaz de, 126, 128. 
Samuri of Calicut, 53-54 ; relations 

with Gama (1498), 54-58 ; with 

Cabral, 63; with Gama (1502), 

65-66 ; attacks Cochin, 71 ; re- 
lations with Almeida, 75 ; with 

Albuquerque, 79-80, 93 (note). 
Sanches, D. Affonso, 78. 
Sancho III., King of Castile, 78. 
Sannazaro, 257, 275. 
Santa Cruz, convent and college, 

Coimbra, 250-252. 
Santa Cruz, Caspar de, 220. 
Santa Cruz, Terra da (Brazil), 63. 
Santa Fe, college, Goa. See St 

Paul, college of. 
Santiago, Jorge de, 169. 
Santiago (Sao Thiago) Order of, 

4-5, 68, 97. 
Sao Bento, convent, Lisbon, 173. 
Sao Bento, ship, 262, 263. 
Sao Braz, Angra de. See Mossel 

Sao Jorge, island near Mozambique, 

Sao Jorge da Mina, town and fort, 

Guinea, 24-25, 37, 67. 
Sao Paulo da Salvaterra, town, 

Portugal, 132. 
Sao Thiago, island. Cape Verdes, 

Sao Thiago de Ca9em, town, 

Portugal, 6y. 
Sao Thome, island, Atlantic, 159, 

5a^z (Suttee), 112. 
Satira do Torneio, 264-265. 
Satsuma, fief, Japan, 219-220. 
Satyrs, Isle of. Red Sea, 136. 
Scaliger, Joseph, 169. 
Scaliger, Julius Caesar, 169. 
Scanderbeg, 81. 
Scandinavian explorers, 7. 
Scheldt, river, 288. 
Scipio Africanus, 263. 
Seamanship and seamen, in fifteenth 

and sixteenth centuries, 15-19, 

35-36, 40 (and note), 48, 75- 

76, 286. 
Sebastian, King of Portugal, 120, 

274, 276 ; biography, 279-284. 
Sebastianism, 284. 
Seleucids, Kings of Syria, 261. 
Selim I., Ottoman Sultan, 74 (note), 

Senegal, river, Africa. See " Western 

Sephardim, 156. 

Sequeira, Diogo Lopes de, 79-80. 
Serra Mendro, Portugal, 70. 
Serrao, Joao, 84. 
Servetus, 269. 

Seven Cities, legendary island of, 8. 
Shakhra, seaport, Arabia, 153. 


Shangchwan Island, China, 227- 

228 (note), 233-235. 
Shem-Tob, Levi ben, 159. 
Shia Muhammadanism, 94, loi, 108, 
Shimonoseki, Strait of, 221. 
Ships and Shipbuilding, 127; caravel, 

15-16; dhow, 15, 46; the Sao 

Raphael and Sao Gabriel, 34-35 ; 

almadia, 49 ; foist, 7^ ', junk, 

Shogun, 218, 222. 
Siam, 94, 108, no, 211. 
Sifr Aga, 144-145. 
Sig^a, Angela, 258. 
Sigea, Luisa, 258. 
Silva, Pedro da, 69, 232. 
Silva, Rodrigues da, 246. 
Silveira, D. Alvaro da, 266. 
Silveira, D. Gon9alo da, 182-183. 
Sinai, Mount, 10 1, 139-140. 
Sines, seaport, Portugal, 34, 67-69. 
Singapore, 233. 
Slaves and Slavery, 19-23, 104-106, 

185, 265, 285-287. 
Scares, Joao, 259 (note). 
Soares de Albergaria, Lopo, 96, 

Socotra, island, Arabian Sea, 138. 
Sodr6, Vicente, 66. 
Sofala, town, S.E. Africa, 46, 64. 
Soldo f 291. 

Songkoi, river, Indo-China, 214. 
Sousa, D. Aldonsa, de, 78. 
Sousa, Garcia de, 92. 
Sousa, Martim Affonso de, 142, 199, 

208, 233, 293. 
" Spanish Captivity," 278, 284, 285. 
Spice-trade, 33, 53, 57, 58, 60, 106, 

109, 288. 
Stewart, Lord James, 168. 
Stratonice, 261. 
Stuart, Prince James, 174. 
Suakin, 138-139, 141. 
Suez, loi, 133, 135, 139, 141. 
Sumatra, 86, 202, 207. 
Suni Muhammadanism, 108. 

Tabriz, 109. 
Tagus, river, 287. 
Tahafut ul-Mujahidin^ 303. 
" Talapicor of Lechuna," 214. 
Tamao, island, China, 227-229. 
Tanegashima, island, Japan, 215, 

Tangier, 36, 139, 262, 281. 
Taoism, 237, 

Tarshish, 46 (and note), 87 (note). 
Teive, Diogo de, 170-173. 
Templars, Order of, 4-5. 
Temple, Sir William, 210. 

Terceira, island, Azores, 58. 

Terence, 253. 

Ternate, island, Malay Archipelago, 
203-206, 266. 

Tetuan, 262. 

Teutonic Knights, 4. 

Thanadar, in. 

Theresa, St., 236. 

Thomar, city, Portugal, 242. 

Thomas, St., 200, 205. 

Tibet, 214-215. 

Tidore, island, Malay Archipelago, 
203-206, 266. 

Timoja, 73, 82, 84, in. 

Tisvadi (Ilha de Goa), 81, in. 

Toar, Sancho de, 64, 66. 

Toledo, 117. 

Tongking, 214. 

Tor, town, Arabia, 1 39-141. 

Tordesillas, treaty of, 32, 203. 

Torres, Cosmo, 209, 218-226. 

Toscanelli, 8. 

Travancore, 197-199. 

Trimumpate, Raja of Cochin, 71. 

Trinidade, Adeodato da, 301. 

Tristan d'Acunha, archipelago, S. 
Atlantic, 119. 

Troglodytes, 139. 

Tumeds, 213-214. 

Tungabhadra, river, India, 73. 

Tunis, 131-132. 

Turan Shah of Ormuz, 94-96. 

Turks : invade Europe, 12, 13, 162 ; 
effect of Portuguese discoveries on, 
119; sea-power of, in Europe, 
60-62, 131-132, 261 ; in Asia, 74, 
103, 133. i35> 141, 211 ; conquer 
Egypt, 74 (note) ; invade Persia, 
109; at Aden, 1 51-152. 

Tyre, 102. 

Udine, Giovanni da, 119. 
Uso di Mare, Antonio, 1 5 . 
Utemuta, Raja 87-88. 

Valdes Leal, Juan de, 246. 
Vallarte the Dane, 1 5 . 
Varthema, Ludovico di, 302. 
Vasco, "Grao," 245. 
Vasconcellos, Diogo Mendes de, 84, 

85, 96-97- 
Vaz, Miguel, 195, 196, 
Vecinho, Joseph, Rabbi, 30. 
Velazquez, 246-247. 
Velloso, Fernao, 41. 
Veniaga. See Tamao. 
Venice, 33, 61, 102, 118-119, 241. 
Vicente, Gil, 248-249, 253. 
Vicente, Martim, 30. 



Vicente, Paula, 258. 

Viceroys and Governors of India, 

xix., 72 (and note). 
Vidigueira, 70, 140. 
Vienna, 62. 

Vieyra, Christovao, 229-230. 
Vijayanagar, Hindu empire, 73-74, 

103, 108, 135, 198, 292-293. 
Vilhegas, D. Diogo Ortiz de, Bishop 

of Ceuta and Tangier, 30, 36. 
Villa de Frades, town, Portugal, 70. 
Villa Nova de Milfontes, town, 

Portugal, 67. 
Villafranca de Xira, town, Portugal, 

Vinet, Elie, 169, 175. 
Vinzella, town, Portugal, 167. 
Visigoths, 3. 
Vyne, Master, 127. 

Wady M'hassan, Morocco, 283. 

Western Ghats, India, 52, 84, 97. 

" Western Nile," 12-14. 

Wheeler, John, 288. 

" Wineland," 7. 

Women, in Portuguese India, 104- 

106, 124-125, 128, 133, 144-145, 

146, 190-192. 
Wotton, Sir Henry, 211. 

Xavier Francis, 153 ; early career, 
165-167 ; in Goa (1542), 187- 
194 ; in South India, 195-200 ; 
at Mailapur, 200 ; in Malacca 
(1546), 200-201 ; id. (1548), 207- 
208; id. (1549), 209; id (1552), 
232-233 ; in Malay Archipelago, 
205-207, 266 ; mission to Japan, 
208-209, 218-226 ; to China, 225- 
226, 232-234 ; death 234-235 ; 
work and character, 235-240 ; 
miracles, 239 ; bibliography, 309. 

Xavier y Azpilqueta, Maria de, 166- 

Xerafim, 311. 

Yahya, Joseph ben David ibn, i 58. 
Yajiro, 208-209, 218-221, 226. 
Yamaguchi, town, Japan, 221-224. 
Yusuf Adil Shah of Bijapur, 81-84. 

Zacuto ben Samuel, Abraham, 

30. 36. 
Zamorin. See Samuri. 
Zaragoza (Saragossa), 117, 170. 
Zarco, Joao Gon9alves, 9, 250. 
Zeila, town, N.E. Africa, 141. 
Zeimoto, Francisco, 215. 
Zimbabwe, Great, S. Africa, 46. 
Zurbar&n, 246. 






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